Comcast arrogance and hypocrisy


To the Editor:

The hypocrisy and arrogance of Comcast vice president Steve Hackley’s March 15 Op-Ed in the Times is breathtaking.

What he describes as a “small number of citizens” calling for cable service on Chappaquiddick includes the unified Chappaquiddick Island Association and the town of Edgartown selectmen, who have decisively refused to negotiate for a cable plan that would exclude Chappy. Mr. Hackley pretends that “a generous financial package” is being offered as a preferred option to Chappy service. The fact is the $5 million in franchise fees offered island towns is not a gift and would be recovered from island citizens through future Comcast rate increases.

Comcast claims it would have to make a $2 million investment to service Chappy, yet refuses to offer any creditable details on the real costs of running a cable through the new under-harbor conduit available for use. It is laughable that Mr. Hackley claims Comcast is committed to “strong” community support for the Vineyard while his company’s behavior is a polar opposite. One condition of the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal last year was to “spur broadband to under served communities.”

Comcast chairman Brian Roberts, who owns a home in West Tisbury, recently reported company revenues of more than $55 billion in 2011, an annual increase of 47 percent, including substantial financial gains in its theme parks. Apparently the success of theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood is more important on the Comcast agenda than service to our small island.

Bob O’Rourke