A group of Falmouth residents has embarked on an ambitious campaign to bring high-speed internet to the town. The residents are unhappy with the status quo and tired of internet service providers whose service is less than reliable. They recognize that OpenCape has already provided the backbone of what could be a municipal system. They also recognize that building out the system so that fast, reliable internet is available to all households will not be cheap. It is a very big undertaking.
The group is holding a meeting to rally public support on Tuesday evening.
With enough public support, this group has a good chance of realizing its goal. It has the potential for great value. The framers of OpenCape knew this and today most municipal buildings on the Cape benefit from it. Falmouth Town Hall is connected, as are the police and fire departments, the schools and the libraries. This is all good, but the benefits are not broadly felt.
In addition to reliability, group member David Isenberg points out that net neutrality has been eroded and internet service providers can control content, if they choose. A municipal system would allow users to take control.
Group member Courtney Bird said the internet is as essential as water, electricity and roads. He might be understating the case. While true for home owners, businesses rely heavily on the internet for email and file transfers. Insurance and financial businesses are highly dependent on it. Retail stores process transactions with it; slow or unreliable service can be costly.
But good, high speed internet access might also bring economic opportunity to the town by making possible international business operations in home offices.
We imagine most Falmouth taxpayers will hesitate when they hear of the possible cost of creating a municipal system. But they should hear this group out. A municipal system could save money in most households with lower monthly access fees.
Tuesday’s meeting will be a good starting point. We hope this group gets the community’s ear as it moves forward.