Comcast/Broadband Update (4/27/2020)

First, the good news:  You may have heard that the Governor announced that unserved and underserved communities like ours would be offered free 250mbps temporary hot spots for students and others to use.  As you probably know, we have open WiFi hotspots now at Town Hall, the R. H. Conwell School and the Library. They are nowhere near that fast. This temporary hotspot will be dramatically faster and allow for more people to be connected and at more usable speeds, particularly for students who are working remotely. 

We’ll be putting this at the school in order to maximize the availability where there’s lots of parking and the tables out front when the weather warms up.  I am working with the Massachusetts Broadband Commission (MBI) to get this implemented and will let you know as soon as it’s available.

Now, when are we going to get our Comcast?  Right?  I’m afraid that date has slipped some.  Make-ready work has been going on for the past several months and they are making progress.  Verizon has set about 50 new poles and Eversource is now in the process of moving their wires.  After they are done, which should be next month, Verizon then will come back to move their wires to make room on the poles for Comcast.  The new date for that work to be completed is the end of August.  In the meantime, there is a lot of utility work going on in association with the Route 143 construction project and they are engaged in that work as well.  So far there do not appear to have been delays due to the pandemic or other work and we hope that the late August target will hold.

Once Comcast receives licenses to attach their cables to the poles it will be about 4-6 months for them to complete their work.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, they will connect residences as they go.  So service will come in stages.  The signal is coming in from Huntington so most likely south Worthington will see service earlier than the western parts of town.  But don’t quote me on that.  If they’re able to stick to the current schedule, service may reach some us next fall and everywhere by early next year.

In order to speed the process up some, Comcast is planning to send letters out soon to all residents, asking if we’re going to want service.  They then hope to get a jump on things by doing some wiring at the house end, so when they start stringing cable they can hook people up that much faster.  There will be marketing going on before that, so expect to see Comcast in town knocking on doors and holding public meetings once it’s safe to do so.  I know that some folks have longer driveways and other challenging situations and Comcast will be addressing those issues with each homeowner at that time.

Finally, I know that folks in west Worthington are anxious for news about the new cell tower off Old North Road.  They are now expecting to have that operational in October. 

Charley Rose
Worthington Select Board
crose@worthington-ma.us

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