The first question I get around town continues to be about Comcast. It’s been several months since I last posted an update, which you can read here. I’m afraid the short answer to the question is not much has changed and the work is a little behind schedule.
As stated previously there are essentially 4 steps to go in the build-out process.
- Verizon has been setting new poles around town for the past few months. You may have noticed the pile of poles in the parking area of the old Albert house on Huntington Road across from the runway in the middle of town. That work should conclude around the end of the month.
- The next thing to look for will be Eversource coming in to move their wires to the new poles and making other necessary adjustments on existing poles. That will be going on late winter and spring.
- Verizon will then be coming back to move their wires to the new poles and make adjustments on existing poles as necessary to make room for Comcast’s cables. The basic arrangement on the poles is that the electric wires are always at the top of the pole and take precedence over everything else. The phone cables are always at the bottom. Everything else, like Comcast, goes in the middle. All this make-ready work is to make space on poles in that center area for Comcast to hang their cables.
- The final step is, of course, for Comcast to come in and build their network. I have been in touch with Comcast in the last week and they now expect to be able to begin work in June. The build-out is expected to take about 4 months.
It’s important to keep in mind that these steps can and will overlap. For instance, Verizon may still be doing make-ready work in one part of town while Comcast is able to do work in another part of town where make-ready work has already been completed. Comcast’s original contract with the state, who along with the town are significantly subsidizing this project, called for work to be complete by July of 2020. It’s pretty clear that won’t happen. So yes, they are behind schedule. Of course the contract does allow for delays caused by issues beyond Comcast’s control, including delays in the make-ready work which is essentially the case.
The good news is that if Comcast is able to start work in June we shouldn’t be too far off from the contract date and could in fact see the project’s completion before the end of the year. Comcast will roll service out as they go and not wait for the network completion. The lines will be coming into town from Huntington, so presumably service will be available in the southern end of town first and they’ll build north and west from there.
I’m expecting further updates from Comcast, will do my best to keep on top of Eversource and Verizon, and will post updates as I learn more. We can expect a lot of utility and road construction work to be taking place over the next several months. In addition to the Comcast build-out, phase one of the long awaited Route 143 construction will finally get under way in April. Phase one of the project will be from Cold Street to the Chesterfield line and will begin on the Cold Street end. The road will be widened and completely rebuilt across that entire stretch. I’ll be posting a more detailed update on that soon.