Comcast must serve Chappy


To the Editor:

As the Island-wide Cable Advisory Board finishes up its negotiations with the Comcast Cable Company for a new 10-year license for cable TV coverage of Martha’s Vineyard, property owners on Chappaquiddick are apprehensive and hopeful of support from the rest of the Island of Martha’s Vineyard in obtaining Cable TV for Chappaquiddick. Comcast has so far shown little interest in cabling Chappaquiddick, citing excess cost to do so.

The advisory board has shown Comcast representatives that in addition to about 850 other dwellings not presently served on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, there are more than 520 not served on Chappaquiddick. Edgartown town officials have shown Comcast representatives the possibility of using newly laid NSTAR conduits across the harbor and has encouraged Comcast and NSTAR to reach some sort of agreement to share those conduits laid under public waterways and right of ways.

NSTAR has offered to Comcast the use of its conduit. This hurdle of a short 800 feet has been overcome, and it now time to insist that Comcast run its cable across to Chappaquiddick. I’ve made a list of every Chappaquiddick dwelling and street length, which has been provided to the advisory committee and its lawyer, William Solomon. The document shows that density of housing units on Chappaquiddick is not any less than what Comcast agreed to cable on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard in the last 10-year license — that is, 15 houses per mile. In fact, 20 miles of cabling on Chappaquiddick would pass 98 percent of the 522 houses on Chappaquiddick. That figures to 27 houses per mile.

Property owners on Chappaquiddick have shown their overwhelming desire to have Comcast cable TV and internet service available to their properties. Chappaquiddickers would like to enjoy MVTV community programming, including youth sports activities, town board meetings, and other community-generated programming which has been available to the rest of Martha’s Vineyard for the last 20 years.

Chappaquiddick property owners provide about 18 percent of Edgartown’s tax revenue, which also goes to Island-wide services like the Regional High School District, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and many other Martha’s Vineyard endeavors. Indeed, Chappaquiddick is part and parcel of Martha’s Vineyard and should be included in any regional Island-wide deal with Comcast for a 10-year license.

I would like to ask all on Martha’s Vineyard to please indicate your support for including all of Martha’s Vineyard, Chappaquiddick too, in the renewed license with Comcast. An email or letter to your selectmen would be most appropriate.

Roger Becker