Will Boston get better broadband? Maybe a super speedy fiber-optics network?
The new mayor, Martin J. Walsh, said he is working on bringing faster Internet service to the city, including possibly fiber, considered the fastest of all Internet networks.
The mayor talked Thursday about beefing up broadband at the annual meeting of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, the state’s biggest tech organization. His comments were greeted with loud applause.
“My administration will work hard to improve the speed and reliability of broadband in Boston,” said Walsh.
When someone in the audience shouted out “fiber around town,” Walsh said, “Don’t worry, we’re working on it, trust me. ... I can’t talk about it, but we’re working on it.”
Fiber-optic networks are able to transmit huge amounts of data much faster than other services such as cable or Internet over phone lines. Search giant Google Inc. is bringing fiber to a few cities. Its network delivers speeds 100 times faster than average broadband for about $70 a month. So far it’s in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah.
In Boston, limited options for truly high-speed broadband Internet have been the headache for many tech startups. And former mayor Thomas M. Menino couldn’t persuade Verizon to bring its fiber service FiOS to the city despite years of trying. Boston failed to get Google to build its state-of-the-art Internet service in Boston.
Former mayoral candidate Mike Ross recently wrote about the broadband woes facing many startups. “Difficult though it may be to believe, Greater Boston is littered with connectivity dead spots. Most troublesome are the gaps within those business districts where technology companies abound,” wrote Ross.
After his comments to the MassTLC audience, Walsh wouldn’t expand on his fiber plans, except to say that he’s working on it.