No more Mr. Nice Guy on lack of internet in Cumberland County

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to finally bring high-speed internet to our rural community in Cumberland County 50 miles south of center city Philadelphia. For years I’ve been engaged in polite letter writing and political lobbying efforts with no tangible result. The efforts of our community leaders like Meghan Wren and State Senator Jeff Van Drew brought further discussion but no new wiring. The lack of high-speed internet has become a serious obstacle to economic growth in our community and the education of our children. We need the wiring now! I’ve been told that it could be done in a week if Comcast gave the order.

Failed alternatives

My resolution comes as I end a multi-year effort to provide alternate wireless internet service through Verizon Wireless and HughesNet. This was never a great solution since the signal is weak and cuts out as cellular satellites move or weather changes. Over time, the data used by internet applications has grown and the data overage prices charged by these carriers has also increased. The result is that I’ve paid hundreds of dollars per month for barely usable wireless internet service. This is not an acceptable solution.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

This year I will take a new approach and launch a campaign designed to publicly shame the directors of Comcast and Verizon corporations for continuing to allow this cherry-picking practice that serves short-term shareholder profits but hurts our nation’s poorest and most remote rural communities.

While I would not normally endorse a negative campaign in other situations, it is important to hold the directors of for-profit corporations responsible to the community for the actions. The fact is that the world has changed and Internet providers are now suppliers of a service essential to the well-being of the entire community that they serve. Refusing to provide such service for short-term profits is a shameful practice that should be exposed and exploited as such.

Comcast Directors

I hope to enlist the help of activist investors as well as influential social media leaders. The first phase of this campaign will focus on individually reaching the member of Comcast’s Board of Directors. If you know any of them personally or have influence in an associated organization, please consider lending a hand to this effort by expressing your opinion.

  • Kenneth J. Bacon, Lead Independent Director
  • Sheldon M. Bonovitz, Duane Morris LLP
  • Edward D. Breen, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
  • Joseph J. Collins, Aegis
  • J. Michael Cook, formerly with Deloitte & Touche
  • Gerald L. Hassell, The Bank of New York Mellon
  • Jeffrey A. Honickman, Pepsi-Cola
  • Eduardo G. Mestre, Evercore Partners Inc.
  • Brian L. Roberts, Comcast Corporation
  • Johnathan A. Rodgers, TV One
  • Dr. Judith Rodin, The University of Pennsylvania.

Let’s let them know that it is not OK to deny cable internet service just because it costs Comcast more to run wires down some rural roads. While providing rural internet service is not something that the directors are required to do by law and because it may not be perceived as being in the best interest of Comcast shareholders, it is up to us to convince the Board Members that the eventual cost to Comcast – in terms of the total negative consequences of ignoring obvious community needs – is far more than the cost of a few wires.

Share this “No more Mr. Nice Guy” post to share your support for the campaign.


3 responses to “No more Mr. Nice Guy on lack of internet in Cumberland County”

  1. The economics of the deal look like this:
    I pay about $2,000 per year to Hughes and Verizon Wireless for lousy low speed internet for home and business. I would gladly pay amount this to Comcast for high speed wired internet instead. But Comcast says it will cost $28,000 to run the wire down the road to our remote location and so they want me to pay this cost up front and then pay for regular monthly cable internet service. I just can’t afford that.

  2. One of Money Island’s social media readers reminds us that “the internet providers are not regulated as are the conventional utilities. PSE&G or Atlantic Electric can’t deny service to a town because it’s “not profitable”. The lobbying power of the financial behemoths Verizon and Comcast will unfortunately make any regulatory change difficult at best.” That’s why a social media campaign and personal efforts to “shame” individual directors stand a better change of success IMO.

  3. Lynn Petrovich Avatar
    Lynn Petrovich

    In a sane society, basic communication would be a public necessity and the people would own, control, and make decisions on when, where, and how to expand services, especially to those most vulnerable (poor, disabled, rural). We do not need massive profit-first conglomerates to control these basic needs. It is ludicrous for people to be brainwashed into believing we need the likes of Comcast or Verizon, who over charge us out the wazoo and for absurd “connection” services like limiting data ability to bytes. I mean seriously? They’ve carved up data into quantitative sections with limits on this invisible entity…..I feel sick to my stomach when I hear people proclaim with glee they got the “family data package” with 5,000 data access…for $50/month or some such stupid amount. LOL. It is like restricting one’s access to the sun (hey, you can only have 4 rays of sunlight today for $25).
    If you need my help Tony, you can count on it. My cable bills are $300 a month. Under a nationized system, it would be a fraction of that.

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