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Croydon
Gayle Hedrington

April 27, 2009

Croydon's Quest for High Speed Internet

Croydon’s quest for high-speed internet continues. Currently residents of Croydon rely on dial-up or satellite services. Although satellite is faster than dial up, it is slower than DSL and is subject to weather conditions. Many of Croydon’s residents cannot afford the costs associated with Satellite services.

Where the problem lies is with internet growth. Most computer program updates are available only via the internet, and at dial-up speed it is not unheard of for updates to take  two or more hours. It also makes various types of files hard to send or receive. It is also difficult for residents who run small businesses from their homes and need reliable and fast internet access.

Early in 2008, Croydon Selectman James Harding mailed Fairpoint a petition signed by residents asking the company to install high-speed internet in our town. Croydon’s Selectmen report that they were in contact with Fairpoint's Al Guimont who said that high-speed internet would not be available for residents until 2010.

I tried contacting Guimont to check on the original timeline. Guimont works out of South Portland Maine. My calls to his contact number were unanswered, followed by a disconnect. My call to the business office in South Portland produced little information except, according to Candy Sue, that Fairpoint is having difficulties keeping up with current operations.

Although the office would not give out Mr. Guimont’s phone number, they did email him on my behalf asking him to contact me. She informed me that he would not be back in his office until Monday, and that anyone wishing to contact Mr. Guimont to request internet services from Fairpoint can email him at aguimont@fairpoint.com. Cornish had some success with their residents contacting him.
Comcast provides high-speed internet service to Newport and Grantham. Since we are between each town, I called Comcast's 800 number to get information about whom to contact regarding Croydon receiving cable and internet. The representative informed me that I could get Comcast’s internet, cable and telephone service for $114 a month, plus a $300 rebate. All I had to do was to give him my credit card number. I explained to him that Croydon did not have Comcast in the town. He assured me, he was not giving me false information.

I put in an order for internet services on Comcast's web site, giving all information required. The screen instructed me to wait for a service representative to finish my order. "Carol" informed me via a chat platform that services are not hard-lined in Croydon and I should contact Warner Cable, Hughes Satellite, or Wildblue Satellite. I asked her for a number to a DSL Coordinator to see what is necessary for Croydon to get hard-lined for Comcast services. Carol instructed me to call 888-633-4266 and to have the agent set up a construction ticket for the area Comcast Field Coordinator to contact me regarding building our hard line. She informed me to keep the ticket number for him to resurvey the area again, adding that he would contact me within three weeks.

Iamnow.net, a small independent wireless provider in Bradford NH, was the only provider contacted that offered hope for Croydon's quest for high-speed internet. Last year the company was able to provide wireless internet to approximately 30 residents in Newbury in addition to its customers in Bradford. 

The company is owned by Bill Thompson, and I spoke with his son, James, who is Vice President of Operations. He said that Iamnow.net uses a Motorola Canopy to transmit wireless signals. The system is the type used in Arizona and New Mexico where there are miles of nothing, and signals travel for two miles. He said that although trees and the granite in our mountains bring the signal to a dead stop, it is still possible to provide the system at a profit to small communities.

The company is currently seeking to serve communities that are underserved or considered too small by larger players. James commented that he left a corporate job in Manchester to join his father in the family business in 2006 and feels he is making a difference in people’s lives. Iamnow.net is looking forward to having contact with the Croydon Selectboard and the Croydon Selectboard informed me they would contact the company.

You can reach me at gaylehed@gmail.com.

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