In a significant stride towards a more digitally connected community, the Town of Barnstable Planning & Development Department has granted $297,000 in Community Development Block Funds (CDBG) to OpenCape. This dynamic non-profit is a trailblazer in delivering high-speed fiber optic infrastructure to Cape Cod. The awarded grant will power an inventive project centered on dismantling digital disparities in downtown Hyannis, ushering in affordable, cutting-edge internet connectivity for underserved neighborhoods.
Project Unveiling: The initiative unfolds as OpenCape extends its 100% fiber infrastructure into strategic areas, with a special focus on uplifting Low to Moderate Income (LMI) households and businesses. The primary mission is to erase the one-time connection cost hurdle and offer budget-friendly monthly plans, unlocking robust, reliable, and accessible internet access. This transformative step holds promise for enhancing remote education, enabling remote employment, facilitating telehealth, and fostering overall community development.
Expanding Horizons: The project's footprint strategically navigates throughout downtown Hyannis and this expansion promises direct impact on approximately 355 locations, encompassing 98 residential addresses, 169 bustling commercial spaces, 13 vacant storefronts, and 75 multi-dwelling units contained within the Massachusetts 2020 Environmental Justice Block and centers on individuals and businesses within the Low to Moderate Income (LMI) category in this project area. By prioritizing those facing economic challenges, the project ensures equitable access to affordable and top-tier internet services.
Elizabeth Jenkins, Director of the Town of Barnstable Planning & Development Department expressed, "We are thrilled to support OpenCape's initiative in bridging the digital divide within our Environmental Justice community. This CBDG investment aligns with our commitment to ensuring equitable access to essential services and fostering community sustainability. By expanding high-quality internet infrastructure into underserved areas and making it affordable, we promote digital inclusion and create new potential within the EJ and TDI Zones for education, work, healthcare, and families to thrive.”
Steve Johnston, CEO and Executive Director of OpenCape described the partnership with Barnstable, "OpenCape extends sincere appreciation to the Town of Barnstable Planning & Development Department for their steadfast support. This grant fuels our mission to create a resilient and connected community, especially within the Environmental Justice zone. The investment enables us to expand high-speed fiber infrastructure, promoting digital inclusivity and innovation. We're eager to leverage this opportunity, bringing robust, reliable connectivity to downtown Hyannis and empowering residents and businesses in the heart of the Environmental Justice zone with cutting-edge internet access."
The CBDG project goals include the following benchmarks:
- Digital Inclusion: Direct access to state-of-the-art fiber for LMI residential and business customers, dissolving the one-time connection cost hurdle.
- Affordable Connectivity: Monthly plans priced at approximately $55 for residential and $80 for small businesses, democratizing robust internet access and substantially outpacing area providers.
- Community Impact: Creating connectivity hubs at vital community support locations, including the Senior Center, Hyannis Youth and Community Center, YMCA Headstart, the Hyannis Public Library, the HyArts Programming Annex, and others in Barnstable's Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA).