Chappaquiddick ads tell vacationing President Obama, Comcast CEO Roberts island wants broadband

By no stretch of the imagination would Chappaquiddick Island be considered a backwater, but when it comes to broadband, the citizens are on the wrong side of the digital divide.

This has led members of the Chappaquiddick Island Association (CIA) to place ads in both the island's newspapers (MV Times and Vineyard Gazette) beseeching vacationing Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts and "his friend" President Obama to "help bring high-speed Comcast communications to Chappaquiddick residents, businesses and school kids," a story in the MV Times said.

"Our hope is Mr. Roberts will make inquiries to his people and perhaps someone on the president's staff will see it as well," Lionel Spiro, former CIA president told the newspaper in what was described as a "buzzing landline" interview.

The ads also came on the heels of the formation of the United States Digital Service, which was hailed by a press release quoting President Obama stating, "I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people's lives."

The process between the residents and Comcast has been long and complex, involving residents' commitment--both on paper and with money--to have the service as well as other concessions to alleviate the MSO's concerns about the cost of providing service on the sparsely populated island. An initial deadline demonstrating financial commitment was extended as Comcast "continue(d) to offer assistance … in the hopes of the project moving forward," Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman said in an e-mail to the newspaper.

The CIA has also offered to pay any shortfall in the requisite per-resident $2,139 fee required for installation, said Spiro. Additionally, he said, the process should be cheaper because residents along several miles of road have indicated no desire to get the service.

Those residents are not alone. As with other resort areas, there may be a conflict between the townies and the tourists.

"One of the reasons people come to Chappy is the serenity and the wilderness," Jay Hunter, a seasonal resident told the newspaper, adding that the wireline (technology) is going to be obsolete well before the deal is over" because "communication is going to be wireless."

For more:
- The MV Times has this story

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