March Infrastructure: Gathering Resources

At its March meeting, the Infrastructure Committee discussed what role the Tech Council might play in moving toward deploying widespread fiber to the Cape.

One subcommittee is working on assembling links of information currently available. Another subcommittee has offered to develop ideas for homeowners to increase the efficiency of their current service, identifying remedies to common problems.

Results of the Infrastructure Committee’s broadband survey are still pending. However, it appears a list of WiFi hotspots on the Cape would be a useful resource.

In the ‘90s, the Tech council convened the Cape Cod Connect project, and put together the Smarter Cape Partnership with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod Commission, Cape Cod Economic Development Council, Cape Cod Young Professionals, Cape and Islands Realtors Association, the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod, and OpenCape.

Now, there might be a role for the Tech Council in advocating for municipal networks. There’s a question of how towns are going to allocate incoming state and federal stimulus funds—money that could potentially fund broadband. Committee members have seen an interest in municipal networks based on the work at Falmouth Community Network has done. Over the past year it’s become increasingly clear how critical internet access is for residents of the Cape

The role of the Tech Council may be to act as an unbiased local authority, helping municipalities understand the landscape ahead. The Infrastructure Committee could assist in that effort by gathering resources which could be tailored to each community. This information could be presented to each municipality as well as made available online. Resources might include educational PowerPoint presentations, and lists of local vendors, grant writers, and lobbyists.

It would also be helpful to make information available about communities that have already implemented municipal broadband, providing potential models as well as peer resources. Each town will have a different approach; assessing what has already been done may be helpful in finding the best solutions for funding, licensing and ownership.

Subcommittees agreed to begin assembling these resources, including a list of members with expertise that would be helpful.

All are welcome to attend Infrastructure Committee’s meetings, held the third Wednesday of every month.

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