In 2006, Southeastern MA had communications problems. Inadequate bandwidth, limited broadband coverage and poor cell phone service threatened to hold our region back, both technologically and economically.
Our businesses and research institutions were finding it increasingly hard to compete globally due to the high cost and poor availability of broadband. Each year we were losing thousands of talented workers who sought better jobs elsewhere, where broadband offered greater opportunities for professional and career growth.
In addition, local government telecom and data system inefficiency often meant higher taxes and limited investments. Our schools and colleges were unable to keep up with relevant academic programming in an internet age. Our public safety officials were concerned that the lack of reliable communications networks could put our welfare at risk during times of emergency.
It was clear that future development would require a completely new telecommunications infrastructure advanced enough to attract new businesses and support existing ones. So that year, over a hundred local businesspeople, government representatives and community leaders tackled those problems head-on in an extraordinary meeting that set the stage for our broadband revolution.
Within three years the newly formed non-profit OpenCape Corporation was awarded grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, private construction/operating partners, and Barnstable County totaling $40 million. That investment funded the design and construction of a 350-mile 100% Fiber Optic Network, with the latest technologies and highest speeds available. In addition, a regional collocation data center was created to provide a location for municipal and commercial entities to host equipment and/or cloud services in a secure, reliable location on the Cape.
The OpenCape Network went live in January of 2013 and continues to impress with its speed and reliability. The OpenCape 100% Fiber Optic Network is an open access network, meaning other providers can utilize the network to launch additional services in the area to local governments, business, and residents of Cape Cod, the Islands and Southeastern MA.