LETTERS: Voting “yes” for better internet service

To Town Line editor and the Town of China Residents:

Joann Clark Austin

Joann Clark Austin

I feel compelled to write to the Selectmen of China, and the townspeople.

The town selectboard asked in 2017….., that’s four years ago….., for help. The Town,….we…., needed some people who understand the workings of the internet to solve our connectivity issues. For many in our town Covid has made poor internet connectivity and poor internet speeds even more apparent. The selectmen asked folks to volunteer, to work for many years, to find the best answer to internet services in China. The committee has done that. That is what we are voting on on the November ballot.

The selectmen told this generous dedicated set of volunteers they not only had to find the right answer, but that they, the volunteer committee, also had to sell the idea to us town folks (who, speaking for myself, could never have found the answers and who has so little understanding that I didn’t care to go to the three explanatory meetings they have held as requested). I did get to one.

Then last week, the selectmen would not allow the committee to use their working funds to send out a flyer supporting their proposal, while at the same time, the select board gets to put a note on the printed ballot to vote “No”, with no reason given. Selectmen should have put a “Leave to Voters” recommendation with explanations of why three of them voted to not recommend going forward. At the end of that meeting my heart just ached for the volunteer committee. Why would anyone ever volunteer again?

I discovered by chance that Consumer Reports says that a municipality doing exactly what the Broadband Committee proposes is the best way forward…. That good utility services like electricity, telephone, and now internet are (and have been since the 1940s) best accomplished in more rural areas by municipalities. And even better, if we vote “YES”, but there are not enough townsfolk signing up for the lower cost, higher speed, more reliable service, then the town can reevaluate and pull out of further implementation.

Based on what I’ve been hearing and my own poor internet service over the years, I am definitely voting yes on the November Ballot question.

from Joann C. Austin (China)


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