Dante Ramos makes a compelling argument for communities to control their destiny by building their own broadband networks when the service of private providers is lacking (“Broadband competition, Cajun style,” Opinion, May 24). Several years ago, Cape Cod community members tackled this issue by forming a nonprofit organization to construct their own fiber-optic network.
Five years later, through substantial federal, state, and private investment, OpenCape built an advanced 350-mile fiber-optic network spanning Cape Cod, the South Coast, and the South Shore with further links to the broader Internet in Providence and Boston.
This community effort has driven competition, enhanced Internet service, and lowered costs. Currently more than 150 institutions, libraries, municipal and public safety agencies, and private businesses are using the network, but not even a fraction of its potential has been realized. The challenge is attracting investment to build out the so-called last-mile connections, which would enable other large data users, businesses, and ultimately residents to bring this critical resource to their doorstep.
OpenCape offers a compelling alternative to the market and government as it seeks to secure additional private and public funding to grow its network, catalyze new economic growth, expand job creation, and improve the quality of life for Massachusetts’ Southeast region.
Ramos’s column captures the excitement and boundless economic opportunities brought to a small Louisiana community by a municipal-owned fiber-optic broadband network. We should be able to do better here.