A year ago, alert “06880” reader — and Westport MakerFaire mastermind Mark Mathias — emailed us about Altice/Optimum’s latest offer: fiber for the home, with 1 GB internet access.
Mathias had it installed. He dropped all other services — including broadcast and cable TV channels — to buy only internet service.
He got 1 GB symmetric (the same upload and download speeds) for $79 a month. That introductory pricing included equipment, taxes and more.
His speeds are “generally very fast.” here’s a test from the other morning:
Typical cable speeds are 300 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up, Mathias says.
“Why does this matter?” he asks.
He answers his own question: “Most people use Netflix, Disney+ or similar services. Higher resolutions, such as 4K, require more bits to make an image. If multiple people in a home or office are consuming this high-bandwidth digital content, fast Internet speeds are needed.
“But what I like is the increased upload speeds. Whereas it used to take hours to backup to a cloud service like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, they now take minutes. Posting video content to YouTube, Vimeo or something similar is also much faster.”
Yet Mathias thinks $79 a month is too high. He’s found 2 other companies “claiming to offer fiber internet service to the home.”
GoNetSpeed is new to the area, and deploying fiber in neighboring towns.
Frontier also advertises fiber internet speeds up to 2 Gbps. However, Mathias says, they can’t give him dates for when it will be available.
“The good news is that truly high-speed internet is currently available in Westport,” he says.
“Hopefully, competition for our business won’t be far behind.”
Rikki Gordon’s family has lived near Compo Beach for 4 generations.
Her grandparents bought a cottage in the early 1950s. Summers there — 6 family members crammed together, escaping New York City’s heat — were the happiest times of her life.
For the next 7 decades, she cherished that beach address — and the phone number that never changed.
After her parents died in 2008 and ’09, Rikki and her husband Allen Pack built a Nantucket-style home on the property. It was a new chapter, but a continuation of their beloved summer life. The phone number remained the same.
When COVID struck, Rikki — she’s a psychologist; he’s a psychiatrist — worked from Pacific Palisades, California. They rented out their Westport home.
When they returned this past June, Rikki was stunned at the tenant’s damage. Still, she consoled herself, they were all just “things.” They could be fixed.
Yet when she phoned Altice — Optimum’s parent company — to request a service appointment, they said she was calling from an unfamiliar number.
Rikki’s tenant had changed the phone number on her own, apparently as part of a promotion to get a lower rate than she was paying.
Realizing that her “227” number — actually, “CApital 7,” when that was the format — was gone devastated Rikki.
“That number belonged to my grandparents, my parents, my family,” she explains. It was part of her identity — and, of course, the way friends reached her. She started to cry.
Then she called Optimum, and was connected to a “wonderful, bright and thoughtful man named Mohamed.” Rikki told him about the damage to her home, but said the loss of her phone number meant far more.
“Mohamed understood the importance of family and history,” she says. He plunged right in.
Rikki Gordon’s “227” number dates back to these days.
For the next 3 hours, he wrote code to recreate her phone number. He enlisted a team of technology troubleshooters to help.
They — along with Mohamed’s expertise and dedication — worked a “small miracle.”
Throughout the ordeal, Rikki stayed in touch with Mohamed using neighbors Patricia McMahon and Matthew Levine’s landline.
Every 10 to 20 minutes he came on, with an update.
“Mohamed was not sure if this would work,” Rikki reports. “But I felt like he was a doctor doing delicate surgery, keeping me informed every step.
“This gentleman Mohamed was so kind, so dedicated to restoring my family’s link to friends and neighbors.”
After 3 “nail-biting, prayer-filled” hours, he had restored Rikki’s family history.
“He could have said, ‘sorry, the number is irretrievable.’ But he genuinely heard my distress, and devoted himself to helping. I cannot thank him enough. I want to acknowledge his work, and the fact that he cared about a stranger. Thank you, Mohamed!”
Done! Mohamed: You are our Unsung Heroes of the Week!
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Albert Pizzirusso, a longtime Westport resident and owner of A&S Fine Foods in Westport and Stamford, died Sunday. He was 46
The Yonkers, New York native graduated from The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. He became chef at legendary restaurants, including the Rainbow Room, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and others.
At the Rainbow Room he impressed Julia Child with his dedication. He was the only person in the kitchen who did not stop working when she entered. She noted that that commitment and focus proved he had what takes to go into business for himself. She was right.
Albert combined his love of Italian culture, great food and old school “let me make you an espresso” traditional service in his businesses, with quality of service and offerings from a bygone era.
He added value to his community through great generosity to local charities and organizations.
He is survived by his wife Patricia, with whom he ran A&S Fine Foods for 2 decades; parents Agnes and Angelo; brothers Mario (his twin), and Michael; sister-in-law Laura; nephews Matthew and Eric, and his beloved Yorkie, Eddie.
Due to current restrictions, services will limited to family and close friends. A lover of celebrating just about anything, a Celebration of Life will be held in his honor in Westport this summer.
For years, Optimum/Altice has had a monopoly on cablevision services throughout the area.
A new group — the Tristate Coalition for Fair Internet Service — is working on legal challenges through the New York State Attorney General’s office, and promoting alternate providers. They’re also collecting data on customer experiences with the longtime cable service.
Valentine’s Day is gone. But love remains in the air.
And in cyberspace.
Play With Your Food’s performance of “Love Notes” — an evening of thought-provoking play readings and stories — is available online for a limited time.
Click here for the selections: “I Was Fine Until You Came Into the Room,” “My Life in France,” “Bar Mitzvah Boy,” “Love Poems for Married People” and “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” followed by a talkback with the director and cast.
For more Play With Your Food information click here; follow on Facebook (@PWYFood) or Instagram (@playwithyourfoodct), or call 203-293-8729.
As of noon, 9,800 — 78 percent — of Westport’s Eversource customers remained without power. There is no indication when restoration will be complete.
The number of impassable roads is 14. The Department of Public Works expects all to be passable by tomorrow. At that point, DPW will work on the roads with hanging trees or other obstructions. After that, they’ll embark on a thorough town clean-up.
Westporters (and Norwalkers) worry about this situation on Post Road West. The lines are drooping lower by the hour. As soon as blocked roads are cleared, crews will take care of this — and a similar very visible situation on Avery Place. (Photo/Diane Lowman)
He was the Hero of Superstorm Sandy. Not to mention many other natural disasters — blizzards, wind storms, locust plagues — that have befallen Westport in the past decade.
The fire inspector can be heard on a continuous loop on WWPT-FM (90.3), the Staples High School radio station. He offers an astonishing array of information: what’s opened and closed, where to charge your devices, how to keep safe while using generators and extension cords, the latest on the Longshore golf course, and hundreds of life hacks.
And he does it all in a folksy, comforting voice combining the best of Brian Lehrer, Garrison Keillor and FDR.
There’s not much good about our current weather crisis. But Nate Gibbons makes it almost bearable.
Les Dinkin was at Compo Beach today. He noticed:
It’s very empty. Sure, it’s a beautiful August Saturday. But most Westporters have a few other things to do right now.
A reminder about remembering all the things we take for granted. As someone whose power came back about half an hour ago, I could not agree more.
Trees and bushes in the Compo neighborhood look very brown. Les wonders if it’s from the wind. Or perhaps salt water from the storm?
Jeff Seaver sends along this message from John Dulligan, government liaison for Altice, the parent company of Optimum. Suffice it to say, Jeff is not impressed:
As you probably know, this storm caused widespread damage. The vast majority of the service-related issues for our customers relate to commercial power impacts. To the extent that there are impacts on our plant due to the storm, we need to ensure the situations are safe prior to proceeding. We are working as fast as we can to restore services if the outage is not related to loss of commercial power. There can certainly be scenarios where power dips (on then off) which is typically the result of our services coming on and dropping again.
And finally … let’s update Sam Cooke’s 1963 classic with the words: “Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got no power …”
There is hope! This was the scene at the Greens Farms railroad station staging area this morning. Fingers crossed …
Meanwhile, work began on the badly damaged main transformer in Weston, on White Birch Lane.
And once again, the Westport Library’s free WiFi had plenty of takers:
Brandon Malin — the very sharp teenager who contributes great drone photos and more to “06880” — checks in with NBC CT chief meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan’s list of Connecticut’s 5 worst storms (in terms of Eversource outages):
Cablevision has a funny way of “more effectively and consistently” delivering “high-quality hyper-local news” to Fairfield County viewers.
They’ve gotten rid of the guy who did it for more than 3 decades, and replaced him with someone 2 states away.
The familiar face of Tom Appleby.
Tom Appleby — the steady pro who guided area residents through hurricanes and blizzards; reported on murders, budget battles, zoning issues and lost pets, and since 1984 has been the face of News12 for countless local residents — is the most prominent victim of Cablevision’s new owner’s cost-cutting measures.
In addition to shutting a call center in Shelton and back-office operation in Stratford — affecting 600 jobs — new owner Altice has moved nearly all News12 production work from Norwalk to Edison, New Jersey. Only a skeleton staff of reporters and videographers remains on Norwalk’s Cross Street.
Appleby was more than a familiar news anchor. He served as Cablevision’s vice president, general manager and news director. He helped win many awards, including numerous Emmys.
Appleby is a true pro. A Dartmouth grad — with a master’s and Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan — he also hosted a weekend public affairs show, “Focus on Connecticut.”
News12 has served as a valuable proving ground for countless reporters and anchors, just starting their careers. Many have moved on to bigger stations, far beyond Fairfield County.
But through 6 presidents since the Reagan Administration — or, more locally, throughout the terms of 1st selectmen Bill Seiden, Martha Hauhuth, Doug Wood, Joe Arcudi, Diane Farrell, Gordon Joseloff and Jim Marpe — Tom Appleby has been there for us.
He never left for a larger market. He reported stories, delivered news, mentored talent, and — most importantly — cared deeply about all of Fairfield County, and everyone in it.
Now Cablevision has left him.
And left the rest of us with an empty slogan: “As local as local news gets.”
Delivered from right around the corner, in Edison, New Jersey.
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