Fiorentini Urges Cable Competition: ‘Rates Going Up, Service Going Down’

Mayor James J. Fiorentini is renewing his efforts to bring additional cable options to the City of Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph)

With any luck, Santa might just bring Haverhill residents a new city cable provider for Christmas. At least that’s what Mayor James J. Fiorentini is hoping for. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Fiorentini doubled down on his efforts to bring cable competition to the city, ending Comcast’s long-running monopoly.

Fiorentini’s decision to make one last-ditch effort to bring other providers to Haverhill came eight months after he hosted representatives from Verizon and RCN in what he called “an eternal search” for a new company.

“Our rates are going up all the time, and our service is going down. We’re going to try one more time to get some competition,” Fiorentini vowed during his Tuesday conversation with councilors. “The contract expires in April and we will have a new contract by then, and with a miracle, we’ll have a second company too—that’s what it’ll take—but we’re going to give it our best.”

Working in tandem with the city’s Cable Commission—of which City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett is a member—Fiorentini’s office plans to send out notices asking companies to take bids in Haverhill. As Fiorentini explained, the city does not have—and never has had, at least during his tenure—an exclusive contract with Comcast.

In fact, Fiorentini took residents to task for assuming as much. 

“Every year—for whatever reason—around August, I get bombarded with emails: ‘Mayor, why won’t you let another company in? We need competition.’ We get it, folks,” he said. “We want competition and we’ll go the extra mile to try to get it.”

Comcast has drawn the ire of Attorney General Maura Healey this week, with Healey ordering the company to refund and cancel debts for more than 20,000 customers statewide in a settlement to resolve claims of deceptive advertising.