Breezeline Pledges Fiber to the Home, High-Definition Public Access and More Money for Haverhill TV

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Breezeline is moving ahead with its plans to offer cable, telephone and internet service in Haverhill and promises subscribers the benefit of fiber optic cable direct to the home with devices inside fed wirelessly.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini Thursday afternoon signed the “issuing authority report,” as required under state regulations, to allow the company to move forward.

Breezeline Director of Government Affairs Francis Bradley provided the overview Wednesday afternoon during a public hearing that, legally, is geared only to the mayor as “issuing authority.” Haverhill’s lawyer, William H. Soloman, said, unlike Comcast, Breezeline will offer public, educational and government channels in high-definition quality and provide more money to HC Media.

The meeting was also attended by members of the Haverhill City Council and the mayor’s own Cable Television Advisory Committee. Council Vice President John A. Michitson voiced concern that parts of the city might be left out. Bradley assured him service will be available to all residents, no matter their locations, and the company will work through all neighborhoods.

“We’re not going to cherry pick,” he said.

Bradley said the company will offer more than 300 television channels and symmetrical fiber connections, meaning upload and download speeds will be equally fast. Low-income cable options are available from the company, called Internet Assist,” and via the federally supported Affordable Connectivity Program. In response to resident Kenneth Paquette, Bradley said exact pricing is not yet known.

Bradley said that the project would cost Breezeline $28 to $30 million and, if approved, is estimated to take 18 months to complete.

Breezeline recently received similar approvals from Amesbury and Salisbury.

For many years, Haverhill has sought an alternative cable company to compete with Comcast, which maintains a reputation for poor customer service according to a 2016 Temkin Group Research Survey. By introducing Breezeline, residents have more choices for their cable, internet and telephone plans. Prices may also decrease with added competition.

Breezeline, originally known as Atlantic Broadband, has various locations throughout mostly along the east coast and Ohio. It is the eighth largest cable company in the United States and is a subsidiary of Canadian-based Cogeco Communications.

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