Friday, September 28, 2001
AT&T Broad-band reneges on town 'wish list'
Just as the Mosquito was going to press on Wednesday, word came from the cable communications advisory committee that AT&T Broadband has backed out of a previously-agreed-upon wish list that would have remedied many of Carlisle's cable woes.
Paul Gill and Darice Wareham believed they had good news to report to the selectmen on September 18 from the cable communications advisory committee, which is currently in negotiations with AT&T Broadband for renewal of a contract which expires October 14. AT&T had agreed to provide wiring upgrades and to extend wiring to service the entire town. These changes would be accomplished within eighteen months. A performance bond would have ensured that the changes occurred on time or the company would have forfeited substantial money.
Wareham outlined the research that helped formulate the agreement. The committee found that Carlisle was "substandard versus other systems in the Commonwealth." In addition, Gill pointed out that a letter from AT&T, sent in October 2000, promised upgrades in Carlisle within four to six weeks. "It never happened," added Gill. Wareham then explained that, "Some towns (also facing non-performance) have taken a much more litigious approach, but we opted to try not to get into litigation." Instead, the committee followed the lead of Sudbury which secured upgrades by negotiating a "forfeit bond" of $100,000, which would go to the town in case of non-compliance.
The ten-year contract was to drop to five years if the company didn't perform. In addition, a $600,000 forfeit bond was under consideration. Other points of negotiation included AT&T's working with contractors to install cable in new housing developments, $25,000 worth of remote video equipment for Town Hall, and $16,000 worth of maintenance within six years. Customer service improvements were to be included.
According to Wareham, at the September 18 meeting, "We gave them our wish list, and when they gave us a proposal, they were all in there." Added Gill, "I think we can expect a much better world."
Unfortunately, on September 26 the world changed.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito