We have periodically reported on the glacially slow progress of efforts to improve internet service on the Outer Cape. In her story last week, K.C. Myers again noted that the state legislature approved a bond bill in 2020 that included $1.7 million to extend broadband here, thanks largely to state Sen. Julian Cyr.
But those funds haven’t been released by the Baker administration, even though, as Paul Benson has reported, the Commonwealth is swimming in cash. According to Cyr, Gov. Charlie Baker refuses to invest in broadband for our towns because we are already well served by Comcast.
But are we?
“The service we get is dismal at best,” Provincetown Select Board member John Golden told Myers.
“Everyone has a story about Comcast’s customer service,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, executive director of the Barnstable County Chamber of Commerce.
I know not everyone on the Outer Cape is connected to Comcast. The company has refused to connect our house in Wellfleet since we bought it 25 years ago. How many others are in the same situation?
A company spokesman told Myers that only about 50 households on Cape Cod now lack access to Comcast service. We asked him for a list of the addresses to verify his claim. He refused, saying that the information was “proprietary.”
A year ago, when five local towns were jointly renegotiating a 10-year cable contract with Comcast, Eastham Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe noted that there were 38 households in Eastham alone that had no connection. Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro got what sounded like a concession in those negotiations: a reduction in the minimum “density” of households per mile required for cable service from 25 to 15. But Comcast refused to explain its density calculations or provide maps showing which areas were unserved and what the density numbers were there. Unbelievably, the company claimed that it did not have that information.
Why would Comcast be negotiating density minimums to determine who must be served if the company doesn’t even know what the density numbers are?
Because Comcast won’t tell us who the other “49” unserved households on Cape Cod are, we want to try to find out. Herewith is an informal internet service survey. Please send your answers to the following four questions to [email protected], or mail them to the Indie at P.O. Box 1034, Provincetown, MA 02657.
(1) What company provides your home or business internet connection?
(2) Rate the quality of that service on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
(3) If Comcast is not your internet service provider, and you wanted it to be, are you able to connect to Comcast?
(4) In what town and on what road are you located?
Please respond by Friday, Feb. 4. We’ll let you know what we find out.