Chappaquiddick residents who have fought long and hard to get cable and internet service to the tiny island are less than two weeks away from another critical hurdle.
Comcast has said it needs to receive letters of commitment from two hundred and seventy Chappy homeowners by the first of October in order for the cable giant to provide service. Though more than two hundred and seventy people have verbally committed, according to proponents, an escrow agent at the Edgartown National Bank has received fewer than two hundred and forty letters to date.
After two years of negotiations, the six Island towns agreed this March to give Comcast another ten-year franchise to provide cable services to the whole of the Vineyard. Service to Chappaquiddick was a major sticking point, but the contract was concluded after Comcast said it would extend service to Chappy if residents would help foot the cost of needed infrastructure.
Now Comcast wants at least half the eligible households to commit in writing to spend about two thousand one hundred dollars in up front costs just to get service, before monthly fees are assessed. No matter that a Comcast count of five hundred and forty homes appears to be overstated by at least a hundred.
At this stage all Chappy homeowners are urged to send in their letters of commitment, even if the cost seems excessive. Volunteers who have worked valiantly to bring basic connectivity to this island outpost have pledged to work on the cost issue once this first hurdle is passed. And we have no doubt they will.