This Is our Village

Friday, April 28, 2017


As I see the proposals by Comcast and Atlantic Broadband drag out and seemingly never end, my concern is that we will be defeated by time.

I do not know what AB's real deadline for commencing work on getting fiber-optic to us is. They say they need 24 months prior to June 2019 (expiration date of our present CC contract), which would be this June. That would mean a final, signed contract, agreed upon in all points by both parties, done by then. Maybe they can plan on doing their fiber-optic work in less time, but then we are at more risk they will run short on time!

How near are we now to a real "deadline"? If the Delegate Assembly were to decide on CC or AB at the May Delegate Assembly, that decision, of course, is still NOT final. There would remain then many details, let us say maybe as many as thirty, to clear up with the chosen company and get into legal language agreeable to them and us. Let's look at two possible scenarios.

1. We choose Comcast at the May D.A. Comcast then drags its feet getting these details finalized while at the same time reneging on an important point or two we thought had been understood. The back-and-forth goes beyond the time when AB would have needed to start, so they are forced out of the running. Now Comcast has no competition, they are in the driver's seat, we find they renege on a lot (surprise, surprise), and we are stuck with an expensive bad contract.

2. We choose Atlantic Broadband at the D.A. We then get halfway through agreeing on the thirty details with them and ironing out an important point or two we thought had been understood but wasn't. It looks as though we will have an agreed-upon, final signed contract in time. Why on time? Because AB has no reason to drag its feet; it needs to get going. If this happens, all is well and good.

But what if two weeks after the D.A. vote, Comcast suddenly reenters the fray with an offer "too good to refuse"? What do we do? If we put AB on hold and get serious about the new CC offer, we may find ourselves a month later with CC having dragged its feet. SOME points have been resolved but not all. Another month is needed. You can see what I'm driving at: Comcast again accomplishes its goal of getting AB out of the running. Then, before there is a signed agreement, they can change their tune completely, and we are stuck with an expensive bad contract.

Perhaps at this point, having received many concessions from both companies, we should simply not be too greedy. Perhaps it is best we choose AB at the Delegate Assembly, and then, provided AB pulls no deal-breaker surprises, we should simply go with them rather than "take the bait" from Comcast. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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