Boothbay selectmen working with Spectrum on new franchise agreement

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 7:30am

    Boothbay is providing Spectrum with tax maps and street addresses of residents who are either unserved or underserved with cable television access. Selectmen met with Spectrum Regional Senior Director Melinda Kinney Nov. 11 regarding their expired cable franchise agreement. The town has identified 6% of residents in need of cable or internet services. Boothbay’s franchise agreement with Spectrum expired two decades ago, and town officials hope a renegotiated deal will provide expanded services to rural populations. Selectmen met with Kinney via a Zoom conference as a starting point.

    Selectmen asked Kinney about upgrading from the current coaxial cable to a fiber optic system. Kinney responded the current network provides customers with one gigabyte and has infrastructure capable of providing “10 x 10 gig” in the future. As far as expanding services to Boothbay’s more rural and less populated areas, Kinney requested more town information for exploring potential expansion. “If you provide me with a tax map and street addresses I can get together with my team to review possible options for these residents,” Kinney said.

    In July, selectmen received a Casco Bay Associates report showing Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor were well-served in cable and broadband services compared to other Lincoln County towns. Boothbay is 94% served and Boothbay Harbor is 99% served. Last month, selectmen Steve Lewis and Mike Tomacelli inspected the approximately 141 Boothbay residents who were underserved for cable services. The two believe limited expansion is possible on Barters Island and Annabel roads. 

    In other action, Town Manager Dan Bryer reported he would participate in a Zoom conference Nov. 17 with Affinity Lighting. Boothbay is in the midst of replacing 179 street lights with light-emitting diodes purchased from the New Hampshire-based company. The new lights are expected to reduce Boothbay’s carbon footprint and significantly reduce electricity costs. 

    Bryer also congratulated the town office staff’s performance handling the Nov. 3 election. “They did a fantastic job in a tumultuous election,” he said. Boothbay cast over 2,200 votes which included 1,400 absentee ballots. Bryer reported two other recent elections drew more voters to the polls. “Obama in 2008 was the highest, and the second was 2016. That was a presidential year, too,  but I think the roundabout was the big draw in that one,” Bryer said. 

    Selectmen also voted 5-0 approving a $1,000 Ulmer Fund Scholarship request by Boothbay Region High School junior Della Hahn. She is participating in a semester at sea aboard the Harvey Gamage. The program began Oct. 19 and continues until Dec. 22. Hahn quarantined for two weeks studying math, science, social studies and language arts with strong nautical themes preparing her for the Maine to Florida voyage. Hahn told selectmen in her application last month she has always wanted to participate in this type of program. “In 2013, my brother participated in a semester at sea and I wanted to do it since the third grade,” she said. “I will learn an abundance of valuable skills that will stay with me  throughout my life. This program will broaden my perspective, show me how to work well with others in close quarters, and participate in a team environment,” she said. 

    Selectmen approved a permit for two CMP poles on Paradise Point Road. The board meets next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.