Infrastructure Committee Notes: September 2019

At the September meeting of the Infrastructure Committee, we revisited the role of the subcommittee currently working to find ways for towns to fund and implement their fiber optic efforts. The subcommittee was formed to review municipal broadband efforts to provide guidance to community considering municipal broadband deployment.

The committee discussed how best to leverage messaging on the project in Falmouth, including this interview on Falmouth Community TV with Courtney Bird, Peter Cook and Chris Mitchell on community based broadband networks:

There are community broadband networks all across the country, funded and managed in myriad ways, with varying degrees of success. The committee discussed how each town needs community leaders who can advocate for the project, and know the ins and outs of how projects can be done.

The sub-committee discussed the need to create a document with examples of what has worked for other municipalities, to take from town to town, and to provide support for town meetings or Select Board meetings, with possible models of cost. The Committee foresees fifteen solutions for fifteen towns.

One model is the Main Street Initiative in Falmouth, which is now open for registration.

Small businesses in Falmouth can sign up for a shared gig of service in the town of Falmouth and anything it touches, including Woods Hole and areas of Bourne.

This is one of two projects in Falmouth – the Main Street Initiative, and the Falmouth Business Initiative. The town of Falmouth is not involved at all in the Falmouth Business Initiative. Towns whose government is not interested in being involved might look at this as an example.

The sub-committee will work on refining these models into a short document, with addendums for financing sources and other resources, that would be applicable to any of the communities interested in connecting.

The Infrastructure Committee discussed how this work is consistent with the longest of our infrastructure efforts, going back to the ‘90s. As the development cycle goes on, things we don’t depend on today — like healthcare via broadband, and its effects on aging in place — won’t be available in the future if the broadband doesn’t keep up with the technology.

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