|Above: Gottheimer convenes Warren and Sussex County leaders for a roundtable meeting with Service Electric Broadband Cable. From left to right: Green Committeeman Bader Qarmout, Hardwick Mayor Kevin Duffy, Service Electric’s James Galliford, Service Electric’s Bob Williams, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Hope Mayor Tim McDonough, Frelinghuysen Committeeman Charles Marra, Frelinghuysen Deputy Mayor Chris Stracco, Blairstown Deputy Mayor Joann Van Valkenburg, and Frelinghuysen Mayor Frank Desiderio.
On Thursday, August 9, 2018, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) convened Sussex and Warren County mayors and other local elected officials for a roundtable meeting with Service Electric Broadband Cable General Counsel Bob Williams and Director of Information Technology James Galliford.
In addition to the Service Electric representatives, Gottheimer was joined by Blairstown Deputy Mayor Joann Van Valkenburg, Hope Mayor Tim McDonough, Hardwick Mayor Kevin Duffy, Frelinghuysen Mayor Frank Desidero, Frelinghuysen Deputy Mayor Chris Stracco, Frelinghuysen Committeeman Charles Marra, and Green Committeeman Bader Qarmout.
The group discussed ongoing concerns with the broadband options available to residents in rural communities, as well as Service Electric’s storm preparedness plans. Local elected officials—most of whom had not before had the opportunity to speak with Service Electric leaders directly—discussed some of their frustrations with Service Electric’s past unresponsiveness and lack of transparency. The local leaders asked for a breakdown of the costs of running cable to new customers, and options that could lower costs, such as using sub-contractors to build the necessary infrastructure.
“Residents throughout Sussex and Warren counties know how critical fast and reliable internet is for our families, our businesses, and our communities. From small businesses to our schools, making sure that North Jersey has access to affordable high-speed broadband Internet is critical to competing in today’s global economy” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “For months now, I have been proud to work with local Mayors across the region to demand better and faster service from Service Electric. I’m confident that Service Electric heard our concerns loudly and clearly at today’s roundtable, and will come away committed to working with us to address them.”
“The mayors of these five towns have been trying to set up a meeting with Service Electric for years. Finally it happened, thanks to Congressman Gottheimer. We believe that, as a result of this meeting, the residents in our towns will be able to have better communication with Service Electric, which will provide for better service for our rural towns,” said Hope Mayor Tim McDonough.
“I think this meeting is going to be very good for our community now that we had Congressman Gottheimer sitting in and leading the discussion. We as a township are going to be looking into some solutions we discussed as a group, which I think will work out better for our constituents,” said Frelinghuysen Mayor Frank Desiderio.