OpenCape Board Chair Highlights Progress, Next Phase Of Growth At Smartercape Summit


opencapeHYANNIS, MA—April 30, 2015— At this year’s annual SmarterCape 5 Summit on May 6, Art Gaylord, Chair of OpenCape’s Board of Directors, will provide an update on the progress made in the past year in expanding and utilizing the fiber-optic network and plans for the organization’s next phase of growth.

OpenCape has successfully completed its original mission of constructing the “backbone” of one of the world’s most advanced fiber-optic networks, extending from Provincetown, through Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts, all the way to Providence, Rhode Island. In the past year, OpenCape, in conjunction with its operating partner CapeNet, has continued to expand the network by establishing a fiber-optic link to Boston and connecting to new Community Anchor Institutions as well as many private businesses.

Art Gaylord commented, “OpenCape has been and continues to be focused on fulfilling our vision of enhancing economic development and quality of life of the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts. However, it has become clear that OpenCape needs to do more to facilitate the public and private investment needed to complete the network’s vital ‘last mile’ connections.”

As a result, the Board has embarked on a new second phase of development. While CapeNet continues to commercialize the current network, “The Board of OpenCape will be aggressively pursuing new private and public capital investments to facilitate the network’s build-out, and more rapidly meet demands for access to the network,” said Gaylord.

As the non-profit organization segues into this new phase of development, OpenCape’s Board of Directors and its current CEO, Dan Vortherms, reached a mutual agreement under which Dan has stepped down. “Dan successfully managed OpenCape through the construction and completion of this highly complex fiber-optic network – and he did so on-time and under-budget,” remarked Gaylord. “This is a logical point for a change in leadership as this next phase will require a new focus with an emphasis upon working with investors, the business and non-profit communities, and governments to imagine and unlock the full potential of the tremendous resource Dan helped build.”

The Board, which continues to have a direct role in the day-to-day management of OpenCape, has hired former OpenCape CEO Dan Gallagher as a senior consultant to assist the Board in managing operations on an interim basis. The Board will soon begin the search process to find a permanent successor.

“The new path OpenCape began last year is very exciting and represents the next logical phase to fulfill the mission the founders of this organization developed years ago. It truly represents a new and exciting path for OpenCape,” said Vortherms. “I was honored to have had the opportunity to serve the people of the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts and I now look forward to exploring new opportunities.”

With the completion of the network’s backbone and regional collocation data center, the region now has an open-access, 100 percent fiber-optic network, with extremely high capacity managed by a non-profit board responsive to the needs of the local community. “We now have one of the world’s most advanced IT networks,” said Gaylord. “It is designed specifically to manage huge quantities of data, and the fiber optic backbone possesses enough capacity to handle all of the world’s current Internet traffic. Our task at OpenCape is to leverage that potential to catalyze new economic growth, job creation and an improved quality of life for all residents of this region.”

One example of the types of projects that OpenCape is exploring is a health care pilot that would capitalize on the speed and capacity of the network to bring remote health care monitoring and expand access to care for elderly residents living far distances from healthcare facilities.

The construction of OpenCape’s fiber-optic network is the result of local business, government and community leaders coalescing around a solution to the region’s communications deficiencies, which included:

  • Limited investment and competition resulting in a regional IT infrastructure that was generations behind and high in cost;
  • Poor availability of high-performance, cost-effective broadband, making it hard for Cape businesses and research institutions to compete globally;
  • Exodus of talented workers seeking better jobs off-Cape where broadband is more accessible;
  • Difficulty attracting the best educators and developing relevant academic programs for the region’s schools and colleges;
  • Lack of reliable and redundant communications networks putting public safety at risk.
  • Insufficient capacity to support the exploding cellular market, resulting in a decidedly poor cellular experience in our region

Currently, more than 90 Community Anchor Institutions are utilizing the network for broadband, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and seven other academic research facilities; Massachusetts Maritime Academy and four other colleges; Joint Base Cape Cod (former Otis Air Force Base), 30 libraries, and 36 municipal and public safety agencies.  Additionally, dozens of businesses have signed onto the network, with many more in the pipeline.

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