China Broadband Committee (CBC) reaches no conclusion on expanded services

Consolidated: expansion “not likely” in the short term

by Mary Grow

China Broadband Committee (CBC) members continued consideration of possibilities for offering residents expanded and improved internet broadband service at a March 9 meeting. They came to no conclusions.

Committee members have been talking with representatives of Spectrum Communications and Consolidated Communications, the two companies currently serving China residents. By March 9, a new element had been introduced with the announcement that Idaho-based Direct Communications has acquired Unitel, the family-owned company that provides telephone and broadband service to Unity residents.

CBC Chairman Robert O’Connor had talked with representatives of both Unitel and Direct Communications. He said some of Unitel’s lines run close to China’s boundary. He had sent information on China’s plans to Unitel and Direct Communications, but there had not been time for a reply.

John Dougherty, of Mission Broadband, consultant to the CBC, said Direct Communications is working with other Maine towns and offered to help explore possibilities for China. CBC members approved.

O’Connor had heard from Spectrum and Consolidated officials since the committee’s Feb. 17 meeting; there has been no major progress with either company.

He summarized correspondence with two Consolidated officials. One said expansion in China was unlikely “in the short term.” The other invited the CBC to develop a new Request for Proposals (RFP) and said Consolidated “will respond” with a “more competitive offer” than in previous correspondence.

Committee members decided to schedule their next meeting for 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, expecting by then more information from Direct Communications and perhaps from one or both of the other companies.


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