Projects from local technology nonprofit will help build internet connectivity in Cape communities with a particular focus on the Outer and Lower Cape.
OpenCape is a member of the Cape Cod Technology Council and our First Friday Series Sponsor
Barnstable, MA, August 6, 2020, – OpenCape, the Barnstable-based nonprofit organization that owns and operates Cape Cod’s 100% fiber optic network, announces today that $1.7M in funds allocated for OpenCape Internet connectivity projects have been included in the current IT Bond Bill, also referred to as the General Government Bond Bill, which was passed by both the House and Senate and now awaits Governor Baker’s approval.
Submitted by State Representative Sarah Peake with support in the Senate from Senator Julian Cyr, the funding supports key infrastructure initiatives that would directly impact Cape communities. The proposal includes funds for Main Street Initiative projects in both Provincetown and Chatham, enhanced fiber outreach in Falmouth and strategic extensions of the OpenCape fiber backbone in Wellfleet, Truro and Eastham, which will help address broadband access issues, heightened by the Covid-19 crisis, for public safety and healthcare facilities.
“With these IT Bond Bill monies we will be able to scale more rapidly to address specific areas of economic and quality of life concerns on the Cape,” says OpenCape CEO Steve Johnston. “For too long small businesses and remote workers, especially on the Outer Cape, have had to suffer through the challenges of lackluster connectivity. Similar to our successful Falmouth Business project, the new initiatives will enable merchants, business owners and some downtown residents to have access to robust, reliable, affordable connectivity.”
“I’m so glad to finally see this come to fruition,” says Nadine Lacoste, proprietor of Provincetown’s Seaglass Inn & Spa, who believes that more fiber optic internet will give the Cape an edge in developing economic opportunity, educational equality, scientific research and benefit the tourism industry, especially in Provincetown. “Visitors who are attracted to this world-class destination often require high-speed bandwidth to connect them to their home and work,” says Lacoste.
The Town of Chatham supports the signing of the IT Bond Bill to help create a thriving and diverse year round community, says Chatham Town Manager Jill Goldsmith. “Having 100% fiber optic internet connectivity along our Main Street would be beneficial to our small businesses and may attract more year round residents who are able to work remotely,” says Goldsmith.
Echoing those thoughts is Lindsay Bierwirth, owner of Chatham Works and a member of the Chatham 365 Task Force. “I think it is wonderful,” says Bierwirth. “Our whole focus at Chatham 365 is to help make Chatham a thriving year-round community.” Bierwirth, whose Chatham Works fitness center and co-working space already enjoys OpenCape’s high speed internet service, agrees that having OpenCape provide more fiber optic connections will encourage a younger demographic to choose the town as their year-round home. “Great internet service means they can live, work and thrive right here in Chatham.”
Now that the bill is on the Governor’s desk, OpenCape will continue to work with the Cape and Islands legislative delegation to voice support for better internet connectivity on Cape Cod. “ We are urging the Governor not only to sign the bill, but to ensure the funds are released, which will allow us to move forward with these exciting and innovative projects immediately,” says Johnston.
For more information about the OpenCape Internet Connectivity projects included in the bill please visit www.opencape.org.
OpenCape Corporation is a 501c3 nonprofit technology company headquartered in Barnstable Village at the Barnstable County Complex. OpenCape owns, operates and maintains a state-of-the-art 100% fiber optic network built to serve local governments, businesses, and residents of Southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape & Islands.