CAC Chair Dee Shabazz tells Select Board current contract offer is "disappointing"
The anti-corporate stand up for the little guy (and gal) attitude New Englanders are famous for was on full display at last nights' lengthy Select Board meeting as our executive branch voted unanimously to fight the current Comcast ten year cable franchise renewal offer and to send a message to Berkshire Gas to end the current moratorium on new gas hook ups that hurts our downtown.
To the cheers of the Cable Advisory Committee in the audience the SB instructed the Town Manager to tell Comcast the town is unhappy with the current final offer because the one time $950,000 capital allotment is too low and not bringing HD to our local cable access channels is unacceptable.
In the 2006 contract Comcast allocated $450,000 (or $538,000 in today's dollars) in one time capital allowance but much of the infrastructure equipment was already dated and now needs to be replaced.
Amherst Media requested $2.2 million and at yesterday's CAC meeting Director Jim Lescault said even with the draconian cuts to reach the new $950K target he is still shy $230,000.
The capital monies in question are "pass along" costs to the 7,000 Amherst Comcast customers and at $950K would amount to $1.24 monthly which is an increase of 36 cents from the current 86 cents per month.
The contract expires in mid-October but the Select Board has a September 26th drop-dead deadline to officially respond to the current Comcast offer.
Amherst now relies on the Comcast iNet infrastructure for telephones and Internet, so if the system should go dark in October it will send the town back into the stone age.