Weigh in on Verizon fios, Charter/Spectrum, and ComCast tonight

by beth on April 3, 2019

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Above: Having any issues with your cable/fios company’s service or contract? Now’s the time to tell the Town committee. (image cropped from pic posted to flickr by Dan Brickley)

A quick reminder about tonight’s Cable TV Committee hearing. The committee is asking people to come out and:

voice concerns they have about the services provided by the cable TV providers and to learn about what the Town hopes to negotiate with them, which will affect each subscriber’s bill.

Last week, I shared a request from Southborough Access Media for people to let the committee know about how important SAM is to them. This week, the committee’s Chair asked me to reach out to the community with the broader message.

The committee is charged with negotiating the Town’s agreements with the cable/telecom providers. I’d assume the most important one to act quickly on is Verizon (fios, not Wireless). That expiring contract needs to be negotiated this spring.

But the committee is also looking for information related to the other providers.

In 2020, the contract is up for Charter (which you may see billed under Spectrum). And some of you may not even have realized Southborough has a third provider. That’s because ComCast isn’t available in all sections of Town. That contract needs to be negotiated in 2021. Town Administrator Mark Purple updated selectmen this winter that the Town had already opened communications with those companies.

Updated (4/3/19 10:27 am): I forgot to include the time and place this time around! It’s 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room. 

1 Dan Gorman April 3, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Yes, Comcast!

2 Scamcast April 5, 2019 at 12:31 AM

No one should be celebrating that.

3 Sean Connelly April 4, 2019 at 9:55 AM

One thing that would be interesting to explore would be municipal fiber or broadband, helping to reduce our exposure to companies like Comcast, Charter and Verizon. While I personally enjoy Verizon Fios where I am in Sboro near route 9, I know not everyone has access to fiber. That said, community broadband networks tend to offer notably lower pricing than private-sector counterparts. Community broadband network pricing tends to be more transparent and less intentionally confusing than offers from incumbent ISPs like Comcast.

This would probably be more of an EDC initiative, really a major town-wide undertaking, but is something that has been a boon for over 750 communities nation-wide. Here is a recent example from South Hadley: https://ilsr.org/massachusetts-town-moves-forward-with-municipal-broadband-plans/. The closest example is Shrewsbury Electric & Cable Operations (https://www.selco.shrewsburyma.gov/)

Massachusetts is one of the states where telecom lobbyists have not been successful in preventing these sorts of initiatives and with growing frustration with sub-par broadband speeds, high prices, and poor customer service this could be an excellent community initiative.

If anyone wants to really dig in, here is a Harvard study on community-owned networks: https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/34623859

The FTC under the Trump administration has not been a friend to pricing, throttling, net neutrality or privacy. Community broadband helps fight these issues while driving down prices for the community.

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