New service options forge into area
Cynthia Campbell of Hubbard was waiting to have her cable hooked up on Monday, Sept. 27, when something she wasn't expecting arrived â€“ a spectacle.
"I thought the Publishers Clearing House people were coming," Campbell said. "One guy came up and I asked him if he was going to hook it up, and he said no, I'm the manager."
Next thing Campbell saw was a balloon and some fanfare, and a technician as well. She did get her cable hooked up and was honored as Hubbard's first Comcast customer.
"They brought balloons; they brought candy; they brought a bouquet and beautiful oval glass vase," Campbell enthused.
She said she used to be a Comcast customer when she lived in Tigard. She moved to Hubbard 7 years ago, and had tried multiple different telecommunications services, but she missed the service she had in Tigard.
"I tried other services, but it always seemed like the TV would be fine but not the internet, or it would be vice versa," she said.
Comcast crews had been in her neighborhood working on the infrastructure, so she was aware that the company's services were going to be available.
"My neighbors would ask me 'Cydi, are you going to get Comcast?' And I would tell them, as soon as I can," Campbell shared.
That turned out to be sooner than anyone else in town.
David Tashjian, regional senior vice president of Comcast Oregon/SW Washington described the telecommunications expansion as strategic.
"We are actively working to fill in some of the holes in our service area map, particularly in some of the more rural areas of the mid-Willamette Valley," Tashjian said. "And we're eyeing expansions into additional communities adjacent to our footprint."
Comcast announced earlier this year that it was exploring bringing service into Woodburn and Hubbard, and representatives visited with each town's city officials. Both gave the provider a green light.
"Internet connectivity is not a utility, thank goodness, so our residents get the opportunity for competition," Hubbard Mayor Charles Rostocil said. "Competition drives innovation, which will incentivize companies like Comcast to constantly seek ways to improve the technology and service they offer to their customers."
Comcast sources said Rostocil explained to them that while Hubbard has fewer retail businesses than Woodburn, it also has a strong industrial base, and Comcast Business has the types of services that base seeks.Â
"What I hear from our industrial folks is that they want steady, reliable internet connections," Rostocil said.
Woodburn has been equally receptive to the prospect of new service options.
Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson said internet access has become an essential tool, and that need has only intensified in recent years.
"The critical role of the internet in our homes and the need for robust, reliable connectivity for distance-learning has been highlighted by the pandemic," Swenson said. "People are always clamoring for choices and Comcast will offer the citizens of Woodburn an exciting new option."
Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Zobrist underscored the new telecommunications option as a boon to business.
"It will give our local businesses a new option,"Â Zobrist said.Â "We have 120 acres of industrial land available for development right now due to the recent expansion of the urban growth boundary. In addition, there are over 750 new homes being built and over 2,000 units of multi-family apartments and condos approved or underway. The expansion of industrial space and housing will drive additional business growth, as well."
Comcast public information representative Amy Keiter noted that service to Woodburn will be established in phases, and it is expected to begin in December with completion forecast for the end of 2022.
Tashjian said Comcast has spent more than $510 million over the past several years to maintain and upgrade its network in Oregon and southwest Washington, and it will continue to invest in the region with an eye on helping local charities and keeping students connected.
"We have hard-working, but still economically challenged families here in Woodburn, and programs aimed at helping low-income families who've struggled to afford internet access are very welcome," Swenson said.
Meanwhile, Campbell gleefully reacted to her new service in Hubbard.
"I've been playing with my TV set like you wouldn't believe," she said. "I am happy: I love YouTube, and I love to stream, and I have every channel I wanted."
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