Construction began last week, with the first customers getting service next spring
Comcast officials during a public town hall on Tuesday night updated Ocean Pines residents on a service implementation timeline and answered questions from the roughly 50 people in attendance.
The company signed a 10-year right-of-access contract with Ocean Pines in September, and Association President Doug Parks said regular updates from Comcast were part of that agreement.
“One of the things we wanted to do is try to get information out to the community, so they know when the services are going to be available in their particular section of Ocean Pines,” Parks said.
Just prior to turning things over to Comcast, Parks took a moment to recognize former Association President Tom Terry for his efforts in crafting the contract.
Terry called the landmark agreement, which marks the first time Ocean Pines residents will see competition in cable TV and internet services, “a big deal.”
He added there would be Ocean Pines oversight of Comcast during the installation period.
“We have taken a look at their plan, their execution, their construction schedule [and] the methodologies they’re going to use, and they’re all very professional [and] very well planned,” Terry said.
He cautioned that, with many months of infrastructure installation ahead, Ocean Pines “is going to be a construction site.”
“This is going to have dirt dug up and things placed in people’s yards in advance of construction,” Terry said. “We’ll try to make sure people know what’s going on and when, but please be aware that this is not going to be a pristine, finger-food effort. This is going to have machinery and shovels, and a lot of things going on which will be a construction site throughout all of Ocean Pines for approximately the next year and a half to two years.”
Rachel Buckley, a residential development professional for Comcast who will act as liaison between the company and the Ocean Pines Board, said she would help oversee communication with residents and homeowners.
“We are very excited to be here and really looking forward to bringing you our services,” she said. “Hopefully, you all are sharing in that excitement as well.”
Tom Yates, a senior director of construction at Comcast, said he broke the community into seven sectors and the company would supply a timeline for each sector.
“What we’re building here is a hybrid fiber [and coaxial cable] network, so we’ll deploy fiber and then that fiber will feed a specific node or a specific area of homes,” he said. “Each node will feed approximately 60 homes.”
He said there would be about 130 nodes throughout Ocean Pines, with connections directly to homes only occurring if a homeowner buys Comcast service.
“We actually just started construction the day before Thanksgiving,” Yates said. “We’ll need about a month to understand how much we can do in a given day and then sort of do the project planning off of that.”
At present, he said estimates were that the project would run through the first quarter of 2021, with perhaps the first two sectors receiving service by the second quarter of 2020. The sectors, as defined by Comcast, do not correspond with the sections of Ocean Pines.
Yates said the company would place door tags on homes a few days prior to construction in their area, to include a contact number in case there are any issues.
He added the “open trench construction” would generally include cable buried two-feet deep.
“This is, as you know, an old community [and] there’s lots of utilities in the ground,” he said. “We sort of work around the other utilities that are there. We do not cut driveways and we do not cut roads.”
Yates said Comcast would offer regular construction updates for the Ocean Pines website and “This Week in the Pines” e-blast.
“Every two weeks, we’ll upload that to the website and give you a view of exactly where we’re going to be working,” he said.
Buckley added if anything else came up between the scheduled updates, Comcast officials would work with Ocean Pines Public Relations to distribute the information.
Along with the Ocean Pines website and e-blasts, Buckley said the Comcast Xfinity retail store on 8301 Coastal Highway in Ocean City could supply more information on Comcast services.
For more information on Comcast’s channel lineup, visit www.xfinity.com/support/local-channel-lineup and search zip code 21811.
Comcast officials are working on a larger map of the construction sectors, with street names included, which will also post to www.OceanPines.org.
To view a video of the full town hall, including a question-and-answer session with residents, visit https://youtu.be/WZj9oNCyMjM.
The town hall will rebroadcast at 10 a.m. and again at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, Monday, Dec. 9, Wednesday Dec. 11 and Friday, Dec. 13.