Letter: MBI staff report has other motives

Published: 5/30/2016 2:25:51 PM

Some comments on your article “Service Disconnect” on May 19:

After attending the Montague Broadband meetings for the past two years, we feel that the MBI staff report is both flawed and biased. The report, which was written by two of Matrix’s competitors, presents Comcast’s proposal as “low cost and low risk” and preferable to Matrix’s because of Comcast’s higher revenues, cash reserves and financial resources, but downplays differences in the proposed coverage and the technology.

Montague’s experience with Comcast, the provider of cable-based broadband for the last 15 years, has NOT been very positive. For example, Meadow Road, which they contractually promised to serve, is still waiting for coverage and it took nine years for Comcast to bring service to the industrial park, putting companies there at significant disadvantage.

The Montague Broadband Committee has determined that there are 205 unserved homes in town. This information has been repeatedly presented to MBI. The Comcast proposal would extend coverage to only 65 of these homes, leaving 140 homes still without broadband! Matrix’s proposal would cover 179 additional homes. State funding to Comcast for such a meager improvement is ludicrous if indeed “the purpose of the grant is to expand access to broadband service to as many currently unserved residents as possible.”

The Comcast proposal does NOT use the state’s multi-million dollar Middle Mile fiber optic system — Matrix’s proposal does. Why does the MBI staff recommend that Montague agree to an inferior, slower technology?

In our opinion, the MBI staff is protecting the monopoly that Comcast holds in the town of Montague, which can only guarantee a continuation of broken contracts, rising costs and continued poor customer service. We feel strongly that MBI should reconsider and accept our town’s Broadband Committee and Selectboard’s recommendation that the Matrix proposal be accepted and high quality fiber optic broadband be available to these unserved areas.

Jean and David Dempsey



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