SALEM — Comcast executives yesterday showed off their new 135,000-square-foot warehouse and testing center that is employing 140 people.
The facility evaluates television, broadband and telecommunications equipment that cable consumers throughout New England will use in their homes and businesses.
The invitation-only event gave business and government leaders — including Gov. John Lynch and Congressman Charlie Bass, R-N.H. — the chance to look over the redeveloped plant at 9 Northeastern Blvd. that formerly housed Cisco Systems.
Bass had been at the plant when it was home to Cisco. He also had been there when Digital Equipment Corp. occupied the space.
"That's not a bad story. That's a good story," Bass said. "It reflects the fact this economy and this workforce can adjust to changing conditions over time."
Mainframe computers aren't big now, Bass said.
"Telecommunications is where the action is these days," he said. "It's good to be able to know the folks that live around here, both in Southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, are well employed in a good facility like this."
Comcast spokeswoman Doreen Vigue said the 140 jobs are a combination of new positions and some transferred from other Comcast plants in the region. That's about 10 percent of the company's workforce in New Hampshire.
"Everything in here is state of the art," Comcast regional senior vice president Steve Hackley told the dignitaries.
"Every piece of gear that cycles through is tested, washed, tested again, shrink wrapped and ready to go. So that when our customers get something it is the highest availability, highest reliability piece of equipment in the industry that's hitting their homes."
Hackley had kind words for New Hampshire officials who made the project possible.
"New Hampshire has exceeded its reputation for being a positive place for businesses to come," he said.
"This is one of the easier decisions we've made."
Lynch said Comcast could have gone anywhere in New England.
"They chose Salem, N.H., and that says a lot about our state," Lynch said. "We try to be very friendly to businesses. We try to treat businesses the way you treat customers and try to welcome them to New Hampshire."
He praised Comcast for its commitment to customer service and quality, caring about employees and a strong commitment to communities in which the company operates.
Comcast executives, meanwhile, said they soon will unveil a $9.95-a-month program aimed at bringing low-cost broadband to students in New Hampshire.
The program, which also will provide a voucher to purchase a computer for less than $150, will be made available to students who are receiving free school lunches.
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