In the summer of 2009, Verizon had chosen two localities in the North Central Middlesex County and Northern Worcester County areas to receive FIOS service. Those localities were Fitchburg (12,500 Comcast subscribers), and Ayer (3300 Comcast Subscribers). At that time, the Ayer Cable Advisory Committee (CAC) had been approached by Verizon representatives to begin discussions on a Cable TV franchise license.
In the Fall of 2009, Verizon had already begun to slow its pace of FIOS installations. At the time, Verizon cited the high cost of connecting a home, versus the low rate of return they would receive from that home. After the ice storm hit, Verizon indefinitely postponed all of the pending new FIOS builds in the towns they had been planning to enter. Concurrently with all of this, Verizon had approached the state legislature in an ill fated attempt to change the CATV licensing laws (207 CMR). Verizon proposed a state-wide CATV license, to allow them to avoid the time and expense of gaining a license in each individual town and city in which they want to deliver their service. Fortunately, that attempt was defeated, which sent Verizon into the FIOS withdrawal that we see them in today. Comcast has
taken the time to negotiate with each town and city as required by current state law.
The Ayer CAC does not agree with Verizon that our town would be better served by the terms of a license negotiated by the state. Ayer has very different needs than does Boston, Lowell, Worcester, or other towns, both small or large.
The Ayer CAC is in the midsts of negotiating a renewal license with Comcast, which is due to take effect in October of 2012. The CAC will be holding several public events to gather and discuss Cable TV service within Ayer. Our survey should be arriving in your mailbox very soon, please fill it out, and bring it to our public hearing on Thursday, March 8th in the Great Hall at Ayer Town Hall.
To advise the Board of Selectmen on cable TV issues, negotiate with service providers, communicate with cable service providers, and ensure that interests of the town of Ayer are represented.