With Comcast's Dartmouth contract up for renewal next September, residents are being invited to join a conversation about what they'd like to see the cable giant provide to the town.

They will have the opportunity to voice their thoughts about Comcast and what they'd like to see included in a new cable contract during a hearing on Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The hearing will take place as part of the Dartmouth Select Board meeting.

A representative from Comcast is scheduled to attend the legally required hearing. A meeting like this made possible the town's popular DCTV, which is funded by Comcast dollars.

Select Board member Shawn McDonald expressed concern about whether or not there would be enough time for public input during a regularly scheduled meeting.

"I can tell you right now, the most comments we'll get will be about cost, and that's really out of our jurisdiction," he said. "Cost is not part of our criteria with the contract. It's about services to the town, what they have to provide, what they can provide and what they should provide.  Unfortunately, cost is not one of them."

Select Board Chair David Tatelbaum said, "Maybe we should publish the fact that we just financed a study to see if we can throw them (Comcast) out."

McDonald disagreed with the chairman's sentiment, saying the town's study was about investigating whether there might be a less expensive alternative to getting quality broadband into Dartmouth homes than what Comcast is able to provide.

There continues to be a problem with getting a decent internet connection in more rural parts of town.

"My problem is that these contracts are giving each of these cable companies a monopoly in the community," McDonald said. "But we all know that we've asked Verizon whether they're interested in coming to Dartmouth and Verizon says no. They don't want to spend the money for the infrastructure.

"The only other way to do it is through Skylink or some other type of satellite internet.  We're not looking to throw Comcast out, we're looking for a reasonable alternative."

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