Comcast may extend services into Rochester, meaning competition for MetrocastBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
November 13. 2017 10:44PM
ROCHESTER — Comcast may be extending its services into Rochester, which would create the first competitive cable market in New Hampshire.
City Manager Daniel Fitzpatrick said he has been talking with executives from the cable provider for a few weeks. No one cable provider has an exclusive contract with a town or city, so technically Comcast can compete with Metrocast in Rochester, he noted.
This would be the first time in New Hampshire a cable company has faced competition from another cable provider, which the industry refers to as “overbuild,” Fitzpatrick said at a City Council meeting Wednesday.
Timothy Kelly, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Comcast, said, “From time to time, we strategically look at our business. We look at places where we think it’s the right fit.
“It just so happened that because of the economics, because of the growth of the city, it’s appealing to Comcast to come in here and overbuild.”
Kelly said Rochester residents who switch to Comcast will be folded into the greater Boston region, which includes eastern and north central Massachusetts, the Merrimack Valley and parts of Maine.
Comcast is in 39 states and the District of Columbia, Kelly said.
“We believe we have the best products, services and technology in this space,” Kelly said. “We’re optimistic we can come to a mutually beneficial deal that brings competition into the community.”
Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman said Friday there is customer demand in Rochester for Xfinity and Comcast Business products.
Fitzpatrick said negotiations with franchises are controlled by federal law. There must be a public hearing for the provider to prove it is able to provide services. That is the next step in the process, according to the city’s attorney, Terence O’Rourke.
The council voted to hold a public hearing on Comcast’s ability to provide services during its workshop Nov. 21.