Edgartown responds sharply to Comcast letter

The latest communication from Comcast Corporation in the contentious negotiation over a new cable TV contract has prompted a sharply worded response from the town of Edgartown.

In a letter to Comcast executive Mary O’Keeffe dated March 6, town administrator Pam Dolby criticized the cable company for the way it has characterized the negotiations, and the way it has failed to communicate with the town.

Ms. Dolby, who is Edgartown’s representative to the cable advisory board, withdrew from the negotiations in January after months of prodding the company to expand its service to Chappaquiddick.

In a February 14 letter to the town, according to Ms. Dolby, Comcast said it never received a response to a proposed cost-sharing plan for what Comcast estimates as a $2-million expense of extending service to Chappaquiddick.

“There was no written, formal proposal put before the board of selectmen,” Ms. Dolby wrote.

She said she is ready to return to the bargaining sessions, but wants specific information from Comcast about plans to lease NSTAR conduits under the harbor channel to extend cable television transmission lines.

“The town needs to know whether or not Comcast has in fact reached an agreement with NSTAR,” Ms. Dolby wrote in her letter. “Comcast must provide the following information in order for the parties to discuss and resolve how Chappaquiddick can be built out: 1) Comcast’s cost for using the NSTAR conduit; and 2) a build out sheet and plan showing the distances, densities, and costs for building out Chappaquiddick.

She said the information is essential if Comcast expects residents to pay for part of the infrastructure.

“Comcast can certainly not expect that anyone other than Comcast will contribute toward building Comcast’s infrastructure, much less even be able to discuss the issue, without the actual and estimated costs,” Ms. Dolby wrote.