OpenCape, the Barnstable-based nonprofit organization that owns and operates Cape Cod’s 100 percent fiber optic network, announced that $1.7 million 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 Rep. Sarah Peake with support in the Senate from Sen. 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,” said 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,” said 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.”
The town of Chatham supports the signing of the IT Bond Bill to help create a thriving and diverse year round community, said Chatham Town Manager Jill Goldsmith. “Having 100 percent 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,.”
For more information visit www.opencape.org.