As part of intensifying preparations for the possible spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, OpenCape, the Barnstable-based nonprofit technology company that owns and operates our region's 100% fiber-optic network, is announcing they are offering existing customers free bandwidth upgrades, effective immediately. This augmented service will allow businesses to accommodate remote work and tele-meeting capabilities, hospitals to implement innovative screening and assessment applications, educational institutions to offer distance learning for students and will also provide municipalities with enhanced communications to aid in public safety and prompt dissemination of vital information.
OpenCape CEO Steven Johnston says this strategy is reflective of a nationwide coronavirus response, as thousands of companies across the US are requesting that their employees work remotely, if possible, to help combat the spread of the virus. “Offering schools, towns, hospitals and businesses the ability to utilize additional tools to host and share information remotely is an opportunity to help support organizations in their efforts to keep their programs, products and services operational, ” says Johnston. “We hope this assists our customers to decrease the need for human contact and direct interaction and to promote the social distancing that can help reduce the spread of disease.”
OpenCape services an ever-expanding customer base of towns, schools, hospitals, and public safety offices along with hundreds of large and small businesses across Cape Cod, the Islands, Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “The sophistication of the OpenCape Network allows us to deliver significant bandwidth to our customers with ease,” says Dan Collins, Director of Network Operations for OpenCape. “The fact that we already connect dozens of municipalities throughout our region, as well as more than fifty K-12 schools and several colleges and universities in our footprint makes this a logical step. If we can help any of them utilize technology to combat the spread of this virus, we will.”
For OpenCape business customers, this may be a chance to lessen the need for commuting to offices or engaging in extended employee travel by hosting web meetings and allowing for more virtualization. "If increasing their bandwidth allows them to accomplish that, then mission accomplished," says Collins. Current OpenCape customers simply need to request a bandwidth increase to meet their projected needs. OpenCape indicates that they will be able to accommodate any requests for bandwidth upgrades within approximately 24 to 48 hours, and that the enhanced services will continue for as long as the situation dictates.
Johnston wants to reiterate that OpenCape remains ready to support all of its customers’ needs during this ongoing crisis. “If organizations are planning to utilize technology and take advantage of new offers from platforms such as Cisco (Webex) LogMeIn (GoToMeeting) and Avaya, all of which are making free limited-time licenses available for the software needed to host and participate in video conferences, then we want to be sure that lack of bandwidth isn't an obstacle to implementing these initiatives," says Johnston. "Our goal is to assist our customers in any way that supports their individualized response to the potential threat of COVID-19."
On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to facilitate and expedite the use of Commonwealth resources and deployment of federal and interstate resources to protect persons from the impacts of the spread of COVID-19. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has also instituted a Public Health Incident Management Team to manage the public health aspects of the incident and further states that while the risk of COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts, it is continuing to monitor the quickly evolving situation and recommends common-sense preventative measures.
Locally, Barnstable County Public Health officials indicate that they are working closely with DPH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Cape Cod Hospital, while encouraging residents to stay informed about COVID-19.
OpenCape Corporation is a 501c3 nonprofit technology company headquartered in Barnstable Village at the Barnstable County Complex. OpenCape owns and operates a state-of-the-art 100% fiber-optic network built to serve local governments, businesses, and residents of Southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape & Islands and Rhode Island. For more information please visit www.opencape.org