TOWNSEND -- West Townsend residents complained to selectmen Tuesday about a lack of cable service to their homes during a public hearing on Comcast's cable license, which is being considered for renewal.

According to members of a committee that was formed last year to look into renewing Comcast's license, about 38 households in Townsend do not have access to cable service.

Unserved streets include Sauna Row Road, Vinton Pond Road and parts of New Fitchburg Road, all in West Townsend.

Steve Cloutier, who serves as chair of the cable committee, said that the problems with getting cable service are due to aging infrastructure in the form of poles that do not reach high enough to carry the cable wires.

The poles are owned by power company Unitil.

Over the coming months, the cable committee is planning to push for replacement or modification of these poles by Unitil, Cloutier said.

"We are going to personally meet with Unitil, who owns the poles, and find out what the situation is and get a price on what the poles will cost to be replaced," Cloutier said.

Jane Lyman of Comcast said that while it was too early to commit to a timeline for providing the service, Comcast would likely extend service as quickly as possible if the poles are modified or replaced.

"We'd like the process to be methodical in a good way. We want to look at things thoroughly and understand what the town's ascertained needs are," Lyman said.


Townsend resident John Delaney said the process for getting service to these areas had already taken too long.

"It seems like we've been talking about this for a long time now. We were talking about this 10 years ago before we signed the last contract," Delaney said.

The board could schedule a meeting with Unitil to talk about making the necessary repairs, Chairwoman Sue Lisio said.

Selectman Robert Plamondon said he would like to see a promise in writing of a timetable for the cable service to be extended.

"I think the time for delay is over. There's been enough talk about it. I'd like to see some backbone or some juice in this and get this moving. And if some pressure needs to be applied then let's do it," Plamondon said.

Comcast's 10-year contract to serve the town expired in the summer of 2012, but they have been operating under a temporary contract extension in the meantime.

Selectmen held a public hearing last year to evaluate Comcast's service, and the cable committee was formed as a result of that meeting to investigate both Comcast's service and the town's future cable needs before another contract is negotiated.

After the hearing, Plamondon also announced his plan to resign from the Board of Selectmen after the sale of his home is finalized.

"It's been almost nine years and I've really enjoyed my time on the board and seen a lot of things happen. I've been a part of a lot of positive changes in the town and it has been an honor to serve," Plamondon said.