I can’t say exactly when I had conversation with Paul Fejko about his experience living in downtown Chester atop his music venue which he host summer jazz concerts. It had to be close to 10-years ago, and I recall how shocked I was to learn that he couldn’t get cable tv because Comcast didn’t offer any service downtown.  

As the years have passed, I try to remember to a make it a point to get an update from him when we’re together, and nothing has changed in all this time. 

Besides downtown Chester, I’ve heard there are neighborhoods across the city that don’t have internet access today. I don’t know where these neighborhoods are. With cellular service providing internet access for so many, does it even matter any more?

Today, the local paper has a big story on Comcast Business investing $1 million into the city’s Avenue of the States corridor to install 2.5 miles of infrastructure so businesses have access to broadband services in the next few weeks.

To some, that’s great news. To others, you’ve got to be wondering what took so long. How can a business district survive without broadband? 

Comcast’s hyperbuild has already begun as crews are installing infrastructure along Avenue of the States and Edgmont Avenue to provide high-speed Internet and Ethernet, television, advanced voice and other solutions to the businesses in the area. 

local paper

If you meandered down Ave of the States or Edgmont Ave lately, you’d see a lot of empty and abandoned storefronts with a few lights on here and there. However, there is a Wells Fargo branch, US Post Office, Chester City Hall, an 8-story office building, and a smattering of small professional offices, retail, art galleries, and the Delaware County Historical Society. Are they really surviving without broadband? 

This will allow these businesses to access business WiFi for employees and guests, cybersecurity solutions and 4G LTE backup.

local paper

I’ve been in a lot of these building and they’re not without internet, but maybe its the more robust high speed internet that’s missing. 

Chester has elements to be a wonderful showcase city. You can’t revitalize a town without Internet capability. The technology Comcast Business brings to our main street will continue to drive the growth of these businesses and our community.

local paper

Having been on the utility side of the equation in my days working for PGW, I remember the testy meetings my marketing department would have with our company executives trying to convince them to lay pipe in areas like Penn’s Landing in order to attract new residential and commercial business. It’s was not easy convincing those execs to spend 10s of millions on new pipe. To them, it was a risky gamble to put out that type of capital expense with no guarantees us slick marketing guys could sell developers on new projects for Penn’s Landing just because natural gas was there waiting for them to tap into.

I guess Comcast has some assurances their $1 million investment in fiber through downtown Chester will yield a favorable outcome for them in the near future. It does give us hope that they know something we don’t know regarding new business prospects for downtown Chester. 

Or, there’s so much pent up demand for high speed broadband service from the existing businesses in downtown Chester that it finally makes sense for Comcast to run some fiber under our streets. 

It’s certainly a ‘better late than never’ scenario for downtown Chester and its businesses and residents. 

Now Paul can stop complaining and finally join the 21-century with a nice cable package from Xfinity. His wait has been far too long.