A message from Representative Hunt outlining his plan to provide an alternative to Comcast’s residential internet service on Cape Cod:

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 @ 12:51PM

RH Letterhead
April 18, 2017
The State House, Boston

Good Afternoon,”If something isn’t working, try something new. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, try something else.”

Let’s try to do something new.

Over the years, one of the aspects of life on Cape Cod that has frustrated me greatly as both a private citizen and a state legislator is how Comcast runs a de facto monopoly in residential internet services. Dial-up, DSL, and Hughes Satellite are not in the same bandwidth league as internet service via cable, and our only option for that is Comcast.

Verizon has repeatedly told me they are not planning to cross the Cape Cod Canal with their FiOS fiber optic service. The simple reason is that there is insufficient density on the Cape to warrant the required capital expenditures. It’s a business decision. That leaves Comcast as the only provider of internet access to residential buildings in Barnstable County. Businesses have three or four services competing for their internet dollar, but residential customers currently have no other option besides Comcast.

I have a plan to change that.

Last week, my office filed an amendment to the House I Budget that, if included in the final fiscal year 2018 budget, would be a good first step towards breaking the monopoly. In short, Amendment #523, An Amendment Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties, would set aside $225,000 for the state to develop a pilot program with OpenCape to kick-start competitive residential internet service.

OpenCape, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, targets municipalities and large data users. It has made some inroads on the residential side, but it doesn’t have the user base to sustain their operations. OpenCape is caught in a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma: to acquire customers, they need infrastructure; to build infrastructure, they need customers.

OpenCape’s mid-mile backbone is a top-notch fiber optic network with tremendous capacity. To put it in perspective, the network has the capacity to funnel the entire world’s internet traffic through it, multiple times over. It’s incredible, it’s underused, and it’s right here on the Cape.

Our proposal, with its seed money, would help link customers to OpenCape’s fiber optic network; consequently expanding the non-profit’s user and fee base, and finally providing a viable alternative to Comcast on Cape Cod.

The Commonwealth has already made a $5 million investment in OpenCape. Altogether, the state, federal, and county governments, along with private partners, spent $40 million to build-out this robust network. Given the quality of OpenCape’s existing infrastructure, its potential, and the investment we have already made, there is no reason why customers should still have to kowtow to a de facto monopoly.

My office is drumming up support for this amendment in every way possible. We’ve already secured the support of the entire House wing of the Cape Cod & Islands Legislative Delegation, as well as that of Representative Tackey Chan, an important and knowledgeable legislator from Quincy who is also the vice-chair of the House Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee.

We need you to weigh in. We need to let the powers-that-be on Beacon Hill know that this is important to you as a consumer and as a voter.

To weigh in, send an email or letter of support to my office. It can be as short as two sentences. Feel free to copy relevant paragraphs or phrases from this message, if that’ll help you. Please make sure to CC your legislator (if it’s not me) on that message so that they know this is important to you.

We’ll bundle all responses and hand-deliver them in waves to House Ways & Means before Budget Week, which starts six days from now, on April 24th.

All responses should be emailed to my aide, Matt Liber, at matthew.liber@mahouse.gov. If you’d prefer to mail your letter of support, please use the following address: State House, Room 136, Boston, MA 02128. Address it to me.

You can find the text of the amendment by clicking this link and scrolling down to amendment #523.

The details of the budget process, from budget proposals to amendments to a detailed timeline, can be found here.

To look up your state representative, visit wheredoivotema.com. You can find their contact information at malegislature.gov.

If you have any questions, please call my office at 617-722-2800 x8743.

Thank you for taking the time to read my message. I urge you to consider helping out; we would be grateful to have your support. It is an honor to continue to represent you and your interests on Beacon Hill.
Randy Hunt
State Representative
5th Barnstable District

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61 Comments to "A message from Representative Hunt outlining his plan to provide an alternative to Comcast's residential internet service on Cape Cod:" add comment
charles m edgar
April 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

great idea. Comcast is horrid and very costly.

Scott Bernard Peterson
April 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I strongly support Amendment #523, An Amendment Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties, would set aside $225,000 for the state to develop a pilot program with OpenCape to kick-start competitive residential internet service.

Christopher Bellonci
April 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I own a home in Truro, MA. Comcast won’t bring a cable to my home leaving my only internet option bring Hughesnet. I pay over $60/month (in addition to over $40/month for a land-line phone as cell service is very poor) for very slow service. I am an independent contractor and the lack of affordable and reliable high-speed internet prevents me from working from my home in Truro. If I were to have access to high-speed internet I could work from Truro and would even be able to hire others to work for me. I support this bill and requiring utilities like Comcast to be required to provide access to high-speed internet in exchange for serving our communities.
Christopher Bellonci

Teresa labaire
September 5, 2018 at 10:46 am

Thank you~ enough

Justin Saunders
April 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

I definitely support access to Open Cape’s fiber optic network, for better internet service. Comcast is way too much and I currently have Verizon, but it is ridiculously slow. Need better options.

Donna Eaton Mahoney
April 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I am in full support of your efforts in this endeavor. Currently I pay $90 monthly to Comcast for internet service only. (They tell me I can have telephone and cable TV for only $10 more monthly, but I refuse to put even that much more into their coffers and have learned that there are always numerous additions to their advertised prices.) It is unconscionable that there is no competition for what is a necessary service,

Jeffrey Doyle
April 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Hi, I support and welcome your leadership to get the goals of OpenCape implemented. As someone who is moving to the cape shortly, I really am looking forward to leveraging his high speed infrastructure, for I will be working from home regularly. Hi Speed, video is critical to my job – let’s get it going soon!

Frank Isik
April 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Dear Rep. Hunt,
Thank you for taking on this very important step to bring alternatives to the Cape. A resident in Wellfleet, we need to have a choice and keep our businesses robust. I appreciate and support your measure.
Frank Isik
70 Indian Neck Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667

Stephen Metcalf, D.D.
April 21, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I strongly support your ammendment. Reliable, fairly priced Internet is essential for the Capes future and present.

Stephen Metcalf D.D.
April 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm

It is vitally important that Cape Cod is up to date with the most current Internet access possible. Comcast leaves a lot to be desired, is expensive and unreliable. We need to excel in modern Internet access for families, schools, businesses and industry. Our economy and future depend upon us having up to date Internet at reasonable prices. I support your amendment strongly. So do my family and friends and business acquaintances. .

Wendy Northcross
April 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Dear Representative Hunt,

On behalf of the 1,367 member Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, I wish to lend support to Budget Amendment 523, An Amendment Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties.

In today’s society, high speed internet capability is important for everyone – businesses small and large, remote workers, as well as residents. As you stated, major investments in this now installed infrastructure have already been made. This pilot would help provide the bridge funding necessary to propel OpenCape forward.

Wendy K. Northcross, CCE
CEO, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

Suzanne & Doug Cole
April 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Our Internet service on the cape is antiquated and very poor. It is difficult to attempt to do any business there due to the lack of Internet and cellular connectivity. We appreciate any and all steps to improve the infrastructure for the many needed consumers on Cape Cod. Thank you, Suzanne Cole

Della Spring
April 21, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Please do everything possible to get some compitition to Comcast on the out cape — they are terrible and very expensive — and they have us hogtied. Thanks for all you are doing in this endeavor!

Nicole gibran
April 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

The outer cape desperately needs this liberalization of connectivity. Please support the open cape initiative

David McDowell
April 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Dear Representative Hunt,
I am fully supportive of your initiative. We are in desperate need of competition on Cape Cod. High cost for low service.

Brian Robbins
April 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm

It’s about time the Comcast monopoly on Cape has some competition. Their rates are absurd. Higher than any of my utility bills, which just isn’t right! We are basically being held hostage by a utility.

Frances Davidson
April 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm

I support an internet system that would reduce Comcast’s monopoly and be lower cost so that more people could access it.

J.bruce macgregor
April 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I fully support your article. Thank you.

John M Knies Jr
April 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Monopolies never benefit the consumer. I support the work you are doing and your amendment.

chester e. conary
April 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

We have no competition for quality internet service on cape cod…Comcast is very expensive and not that reliable at times…I support amendment #523.

Mike Mercier
April 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

I fully support 523 & the possibility of ending the current monopoly Comcast/Xfinity has on Cape residents. This stranglehold on competition has taken place in other communities & did not work well for any consumers.
Let’s get the support for Open Cape going!!

Adam Brown
April 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Rep. Hunt, I echo the sentiments of others who have already posted, and I thank you for taking this initiative. Reliable, affordable, and supported high-speed internet access is fast becoming (if not already) vital to future success. Many homework assignments, or teaching videos, are already a core part of even elementary school curricula, emphasizing the need for high-speed internet access in the home. The monopoly that Comcast has on high-speed services on the Cape has simply bred an expensive product, with poor service, and without competitors or options no real incentive exists for Comcast to improve its own product. In parts of the country where fiber optic based competitors exist (e.g. Google, Verizon FiOS, etc.) Comcast has developed its own fiber optic network and has lowered prices.
I strongly support amendment #523, and the further development of Open Cape’s fiber optic network, to finish that “final mile” to residential homes. I know that I would sign up in a nanosecond, and be happy to sign a multi-year contract for fiber optic service with Open Cape, if the option existed for fiber optic-based high-speed internet to my home.

Deborah Gulotta
April 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Thank you Mr. Hunt for sponsoring this bill. I have sent an email as suggested to your aide and hope that others support this bill also. MA residents, including us on Cape Cod, should have choice in our internet provider, would be great if we had choice for cable also. On Cape Cod, Comcast acts like the monopoly that it is, high cost, poor customer service. I appreciate your effort and totally support amendment #523.

James Reid
April 21, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Please make this happen!

April 22, 2017 at 9:45 am

If pur communities are going to move forward and compete with the rest of the country and world…we need to expand the Internet infrastructure on the Cape & Islands as well as create more competition and options.
I lived in Scandinavia for many years and the government requires the communication companies to establish their networks in small/ remote towns as well as the big cities where they make the majority of their revenue. We have to look at the big picture and not just where can companies make money today.
Please make this happen Representative Hunt. Thanks you!

Cathy-Lynne Belair
April 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

Rep. Hunt
Thank you for taking this initiative on. We need more options on the Cape other than Comcast for our internet provider. Your amendment #523 is definitely a step in the right direction to take on the monopoly of Comcast. The Cape and Island residents need this. You have my thanks and support.

Debra DeJonker-Berry
April 22, 2017 at 9:50 am

I have lived on Cape Cod for almost 25 years and have been blessed with the opportunity to be the library director in both Provincetown and Eastham. Over those years I have seen the Outer Cape change dramatically – lack of affordable housing, decline of the fishing industry, the expansion of tourism to the shoulder seasons, the need for workers from overseas, the growth of telecommuters, and the great need for excellent communications networks. I have also known many who have tried to work on the Outer Cape be forced off-Cape because the telecommunications infrastructure was inadequate.

At the Eastham Public Library, we are so fortunate to be able to offer our patrons access to fiber – it is fast and reliable. One day, we may not be able to afford it unless usage increases. At home, we are lucky to also have good internet service from Comcast, but it is expensive and probably not affordable for many.

We (through federal grants) have invested substantially in fiber to be run all the way to Provincetown. It is such a waste of this investment if it cannot be accessed by small businesses, homeowners, students. Competition and choice for internet service providers is needed.

I strongly support Amendment #523, An Amendment Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties, would set aside $225,000 for the state to develop a pilot program with OpenCape to kick-start competitive residential internet service.

Judy sebastian
April 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

I strongly support amendment 523. Comcast , our only internet provider, is very expensive and not always reliable. We own a business on the outer cape that depends on fast dependable wireless access. The cape needs another option. Thank you.

Richard Putnam
April 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I support amendment 523. All cape residents deserve a high quality, low cost alternative for internet access such as Open Cape.

Mary Smith
April 22, 2017 at 1:41 pm

I fully support Amendment 523. The Comcast monthly cost is prohibitive and I will support any effort to bring competitive pricing to the residents of Cape Cod.

Julie Smith
April 22, 2017 at 1:48 pm

I support this!

Linda Pegnato
April 22, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I’ve had family on the Cape since 1982 and I’ve lived on the Cape since 1996. I strongly support Amendment #523 Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout all Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties to set aside $225,000 for the state to develop a pilot program with OpenCape to kick-start competitive residential internet service. We all should have competitive choices and break up this monopoly that Comcast holds on Cape Cod. Thank you for all your efforts to make this happen.

Scott Sebastian
April 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm

I strongly support this initiative. It is important to explore and implement alternative service other than Comcast.

Laurie Mahar
April 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Thank you Randy for being so active when addressing the many needs of the people. We need more like you. I have saved this link due to your constant activity when it comes to the needs of so many. On Monday I will be contacting the representative in my district and ask for his help with this matter. Thanks again for caring so much.

Terry Everatt
April 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

What can I do to further this cause?

Linda Medeiros
April 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm

I am in full support of bringing in competition ~ Comcast was ranked THE WORST in Customer Service & is constantly raising their rates because they know they’re the only game in town !!! I would be the 1st to sign up for an alternative Cable Co. in Barnstable County. Thanks for seeking alternatives to their MONOPOLY !!!

William Braman
April 22, 2017 at 8:52 pm

And undoubtedly, out come the lobbyists with plenty of cash and other goodies for the Reps.to gobble up and then vote against this good idea. Drain The Swamp!

Dennis Lucier
April 22, 2017 at 9:31 pm

We have been squeezed dry from Comcast for years… Every year they raise the price of cable. They know they are the only show in town. They have no soul…

Kathleen Webb
April 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I am very interested in amendment 523 the cape is under the a hostage situation by comcast….. we truly need other alternatives. As stated previously by another supporter my cable/internet bill is the highest bill other than my rent. I’m totally interested in another alternative.

Gary Farrenkopf
April 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Amendment #523 Establishing Competitive Internet Access Throughout all Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties to set aside $225,000 for the state to develop a pilot program with OpenCape to kick-start competitive residential internet service. Comcast , , is very expensive and not always reliable. Please make this happen Representative Hunt. Thanks you!

Jayne Pelosi
April 22, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Absolutely support this!!! Stop the overpriced monopoly!

Ed Devereaux
April 23, 2017 at 9:03 am

I fully support your article 100% ComCast is raping us on Cape Cod.

Debbie Lavoie
April 23, 2017 at 10:45 am

I fully support this amendment. Our cable bill is outrageous and hope this bill passed and gives us some good quality and reasonable alternatives. Thank you Randy.

Charlie Rutz
April 23, 2017 at 4:51 pm

I have been living in Wellfleet for the past 21 years. During that time, I have seen Comcast charges increase every year masked by their 24 month contracts. The result is always higher prices.
I am appalled that in Massachusetts, a state that recognized the value of deregulated electricity to bring competition to the power generation portion of our electric bills, has not addressed the internet problem on Cape Cod and the Islands. The monopoly of Comcast, with their poor service, has been given a license to steal by the State of Massachusetts. This problem that exists for the internet today is almost the same that existed in 1933 that forced the creation the Tennessee Valley Authority that brought electricity to the rural areas of the south.
Comcast has a pricing structure that requires one to have graduated from law school to understand. With all these hocus pocus, the pricing is a moving target that always end up costing consumers more money. If the cable business was not profitable, how come when cable companies merge they are sold for billions of dollars.
Mr. Hunt, I applaud you taking this problem to the state and create a sensible system of providing internet service. Perhaps deregulating the internet and telephone portion of the Comcast services. Comcast would be required to allow other internet, telephone and TV providers use their existing cable wires like our current deregulated power structure. This would be like the deregulation of electricity some years back where NStar was granted a monopoly of owning and maintaining the infrastructure transmission to our homes and the power generation was left to the free market.

Rick Gleason
April 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Thank you Representative Hunt. Writing my letter of Support for this Amendment this evening.

Rick Gleason
South Yarmouth, MA

Rosemary Dill
April 24, 2017 at 6:29 am

I support this amendment. Stop the monopoly. Let’s also get more competition for cable.

John Margardo
April 24, 2017 at 9:07 am

Great idea just incorporate customer service. Comcast does seem to have pretty good service.

Christopher Laws
April 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

I welcome any other option for internet access and cable. Comcast keeps raising the rates higher and higher (business and residential). We need a choice of who we use.

David ACox
April 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

As the CEO of techtalkamerica.com, it would be immensely beneficial to be able to have access to internet speeds faster than what Comcast currently offers. Right now our upload speeds are 1/10th our download speeds. This means to upload one video to my remote employee can take up to 8 hours. Please make this happen.

Heather Draz
April 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

I am very hopeful OpenCape will bring better accessibility to areas which have only Hughes Net as an internet choice. If you think Comcast is bad try working with satellite.
I live in the national seashore in Wellfleet on the edge of Truro and i have not been successful in bringing cable to my area. I feel forgotten and I believe it impacts my property’s value and my ability to do a business from home. With limited economic opportunities in the off season having work from home that is hinged to quality internet access is important. It also affects my family’s ability to do internet related content for education such as college course work and high school links that simply will not load. It is frustrating to say the least. If you make efforts to make the schools high tech then don’t support complete community connection how does that make sense? We cannot stream, FaceTime or have unlimited wifi with what is available at our house. On top of that our cell reception is very weak. With the influx of summer residents and the rural nature of the winter population there is a need for quality internet even in low population areas. Please make the last mile connections a priority in the least densely populated areas that lack Comcast at all. Thank you

Melissa Barbosa
April 25, 2017 at 9:53 am

Please make this happen.
We need options and competition.

John T. Gallagher
April 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Without competition, there is no consume protection. As long as there is no FIOS on the Cape, Comcast has little incentive to do what is right for the consumer. Of course, the owners of Open Cape will also want to charge “what the market will bear,” so Comcast will not be threatened by a “cost-free” competitor. Let the Games begin!

Jill Riker
April 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm

I am writing in support of Representative Hunt’s amendment in support of funding of Open Cape. I believe that having an alternative to Comcast’s internet service is vital to the future of Cape Cod’s economy. As a teacher, I have had the benefit of Open Cape’s fast fiber optic network. Lastly, with the move toward unbundled content, the ability to choose an internet provider that fits my individual needs is important to me.
Please support Open Cape.

Marcus Broadwell
April 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Competition creates savings and innovation.

Andrew Voirol
April 27, 2017 at 1:34 am

Cape Cod has always been 10 years behind. It’s time to realize the internet isn’t a fad, and to help improve the situation. Google 70% of the websites on Cape Cod, they were updated in the early 2000’s still….

Marshall Trubow
May 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

As a Sandwich resident I wholeheartedly support the efforts to fund the OpenCape program to upgrade internet services for both the commercial and public sectors.
I agree, it’s a shame that at present we only have the Comcast option for cable services.

Donald Lewis
June 23, 2017 at 5:08 pm

As noted the price of Com Cast is much too high. competition is the thing we need. So I support any change in the direction.

John Lucking
February 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Comcast has a defacto monopoly on both television and internet on Cape Cod. You need to bundle their television with their high speed internet to get a reasonable price on the latter. Neither of the satellite television competitors can compete because they can only bundle with Verizon internet which is not high speed on the Cape. My Comcast bill keeps rising unabated – approximately 20% in two years. I support this bill. In the absence of this bill, MA needs to regulate cable/satellite television and high speed internet as a public utility.

Roy Scandura
April 8, 2018 at 7:24 am

I dropped Comcast for dish. my last Comcast bill exceeded both my annual individual homeowners and auto insurance payments.

Betsy Rogers
January 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm

I can only assume that this initiative died in the last session of the House. Too bad. I have just received my new billing from Xfinity with their rate increase. My monthly billing is now $29 more! This represents a 24% increase on my monthly bill. As a senior on the Cape, I cannot sustain increases of this magnitude. I honestly wish there was some possibility we would see OpenCape before I die.

January 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm

We are actively working to make this a reality. The infrastructure is expensive but we’re looking for a way to provide fiber connections and service for under $100 a month. We’re also pursuing a repeater transmission tower so Cape Codders can get free TV via antenna.

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