September Infrastructure: Broadband resources

At the September meeting of the Infrastructure Committee, sub-committee members submitted a list of helpful articles and links to broadband resources to share on the Tech Council’s webpage. While it is not intended as a comprehensive list, it gives a sense of some of the resources available, including information on how to contact local Town Administration. There is an identified need for municipal fiber, with opportunities to tap into available funds.

Contacting town administration lets them know that reliable internet is a needed utility. Committee members were encouraged to reach out to the Select Boards of our individual towns.

A committee member reported that the Joint Ways and Means Committee met on how American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding would be allocated. The Commonwealth has ARPA funding available, with $100 million or more earmarked for funding to close the digital divide. This amount is to be split between partnerships, digital literacy, temporary subsidized service, and broadband service.

In our region, the underlying problem is the lack of competition and robust connectivity. OpenCape has submitted testimony and is working with like-minded organizations to increase broadband spending to $400 million.

To show what connection speeds people on the Cape actually have, OpenCape is gathering crowd-sourced data. In addition to a speed test, there’s a survey of how satisfied customers are and why. OpenCape has found that customers don’t necessarily understand how they get their internet, since they’re always connected wherever they go. They also don’t know what they’re paying.

This is especially true of small businesses—most of which do not have an IT department. Business owners don’t necessarily understand what they have, making it difficult to solve problems when they arise.

One committee member suggested an infographic that shows how the internet works, including how people connect and what connection speeds mean to the user. An infographic on funding broadband infrastructure may also be helpful for municipalities.

The Tech Council is offering a free workshop series, Getting Your Business Online, in partnership with EforAll Cape Cod. Interested small business owners may apply online. Two series are available, starting in late September and late October.

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