A campaign by residents to bring high- speed internet service to Chappaquiddick continues this summer. Comcast will provide cable service if 270 homeowners pay an up-front fee of $2,139 and agree to sign on with the provider for two years. While a majority of Chappy people have said yes to the proposal with checks, a number have been silent or noncommittal, and the July 21 extended deadline for sign-up is fast approaching. Campaign callers working phones say they have heard it all.
Some examples (with answers) follow:
“The post office returned my sign-up form and check.”
True, it’s happened. But not if you use this address: Pam Dolby, town administrator, Town of Edgartown, 70 Main Street, P.O. Box 5158, Edgartown, MA 02539. If the letter is lost, email ChappyCable@mail.com.
“Can’t afford it.”
Financial help from neighbors is possible. Find out by calling 774-310-1020.
“I can afford it, but the initial cost is too high.”
The up-front cost can be amortized over several years. In addition, the installation makes a home more attractive to renters and adds greater value on the real estate market.
“I already have high-speed internet through Verizon.”
You must be a patient person. On Chappy today a high-definition movie download can take over five hours or longer to complete. With cabled service available throughout most of the Vineyard, a similar movie download takes 15 minutes or less. Verizon DSL service is not high speed.
“My land line is good enough for my needs.”
It won’t be in the future. Verizon has announced they are going out of the copper land line business, reflected by the great difficulty in getting line repair service Islandwide. Homes without wiring won’t get installation in the future.
“I’m okay with Chappy WISP.”
Critics of Henry Ford’s cars in the early 1900s said they were satisfied with the horse-drawn carriage. No current Chappy technology can compete with the reliability, speed or bundled cable service (TV, internet, voice) Comcast can provide.
“I’m only here in the summer.”
Yes, but your kids, preschool, high school and college-age, live on the internet. Guests trying to escape work still have to stay in computer touch. The annual low basic monthly fee (about the cost of a good seat at Fenway) maintains year-round service (required for two years by Comcast). Bundled service can be curtailed in winter.
“I hate Comcast.”
Harsh, but an accurate response say our callers, though maybe misplaced. A better target for complaints: Shouldn’t the Federal Communications Commission and our state and federal lawmakers mount a serious nationwide regulatory and legislative action program aimed at providing broadband connection to all Americans — schools, libraries, rural health care centers? America now ranks at least 15th behind nations in Europe and Asia who provide citizens with universal service.
“Have no clue what bundled service is.”
Comcast offers a bundled plan that packages TV, internet and voice (phone) service for a single fee. In some cases this cost could be less for a household that is paying bills with separate charges for TV, satellite, phone and internet. Homeowners should check the latest bundled charge and do the math.
“I didn’t sign up last year. Is it too late?”
No, but hurry. Comcast has mailed new commitment letters to those who lost the mailing or changed their mind. When the letter is returned, Comcast will survey your property and determine any additional costs. Most homes will not be charged any but minimal installation fees.
“I’m still doubtful.”
How about the motivation for many who have signed up? To make a contribution to the entire Chappy community.