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Comcast representatives Chad McCauley, left, and Josh Bokee came before the Carroll County commissioners Thursday to answer questions about how they'll continue to provide service now that the brick and mortar service center in Westminster is closed.
Comcast representatives Chad McCauley, left, and Josh Bokee came before the Carroll County commissioners Thursday to answer questions about how they'll continue to provide service now that the brick and mortar service center in Westminster is closed. (Mary Grace Keller / Carroll County Times)

Carroll County commissioners questioned Comcast representatives Thursday on how the company will provide services to locals now that the only brick-and-mortar customer service center in the county is closed.

Comcast announced the Oct. 19 closure of its Westminster location last month. Local citizens and the Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission voiced their concerns at the commission’s Sept. 12 meeting. Some people said they felt the closure would be unfair to them, especially the elderly.

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On Thursday, the county commissioners advocated for those who lack smartphones and computer knowledge.

Josh Bokee, director of government and regulatory affairs, and Chad McCauley, senior director of product management, came to represent Comcast. The two started their presentation by highlighting Comcast’s services and amenities, but were interrupted after a few minutes.

“This is turning into an infomercial,” said Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5.

Rothstein said the intent of the discussion was to break down how the company is going to expand its services to new customers and continue to accommodate existing customers without a physical store. The closest service centers to Carroll are in Owings Mills and Frederick.

Before the commissioners took control of the conversation, McCauley showed off features of a Comcast voice-controlled remote.

“Most of my district doesn’t have that remote,” said Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1.

Bokee said Comcast is committed to serving Carroll and expanding.

Closing the Westminster location “has no impact upon our investment in Carroll County,” according to Bokee.

McCauley displayed images of the website Comcast customers can access via computer or smartphone. He said customers can order equipment for delivery, pay bills and contact customer service online. About 81% of Americans own smartphones, McCauley said. Pew Research Center data reflects that same figure, as of February 2019.

The commissioners asked what Comcast is doing for the remaining 19%.

“In Carroll, we’ve got an increasing amount of aging community here,” Wantz said.

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, said there’s a large senior population and many of them might not understand how to use computers. They’re used to visiting the store and picking up equipment in person, he said.

McCauley said there is always the customer service number, 1-800-934-6489, which might be routed out of state.

“If you’re going to close your brick and mortar, I would hope that you’re going to enhance the ability for folks to be able to make that phone call,” Wantz said.

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Bokee said the Comcast customer service experience will be the same regardless of whom a customer is speaking to on the phone.

Postcards that explain the change and other options for service are also on the way to customers’ mailboxes, according to Bokee.

As a businessman, Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, said he’s “empathetic” to Comcast’s model of following technology trends, but the commissioners have constituents who aren’t quite “caught up” with technology.

Despite the service center closing, Wantz said he appreciates the work Comcast has done in the community, such as working with The Arc of Carroll County and Boys & Girls Club of Westminster.

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