“It’s simple: when we have more than one choice for broadband, we gain the power to demand better service and prices.” – Alan Davis, President & CEO, CapeNet
There’s been a lot of coverage of an emerging story in the Cape region: the imminent launch of the OpenCape fiber optic network. My company, CapeNet, built it and is responsible for selling broadband services on it.
My message today isn’t about CapeNet, OpenCape, or even Comcast. It’s about all of us who live in, work in, and care about the future economy of our region.
Our outdated infrastructure affects everyone in the southeastern MA and the Cape. We’ve all experienced these things, either directly or indirectly:
The questions are, “Is everyone satisfied with what we have today? Do we need to fix this? ”
If broadband was as good as existing service providers say, these problems in our communities wouldn’t be happening. And here’s why they’re happening: Existing service providers are slow to upgrade in rural areas, and if they do it at all, it’s in response to competition.
There has been no meaningful broadband competition in our region. Our technology gap has widened over the past decade. And this lack of state-of-the-art broadband has a greater effect every day.
The Federal government felt strongly that under-served areas like ours need help and we need it fast. You may not know that there are more than 100 federally-funded projects like OpenCape around the country, including a similar project in western Massachusetts. Regions without the latest infrastructure will be left behind in the world economy, exactly the way that communities without railroads and highways were left behind in the past.
Thanks to state and federal investment, we’ve built a 100% fiber optic network – a data super-highway – to enable new choices and fresh competition. You can see the entire route here: http://capenet.com/network.
It includes “exit ramps” from the network into nearly every town. Each town can now decide whether and how to extend the network to their residents and businesses. We’re already seeing inspiring and varied examples of how towns are doing this across the country. I have complete confidence that we’ll do it too.
Much of the chatter to date has been way too technical. When I buy a car, I don’t need to know how to build a car. It’s the same with broadband. Simply put, the OpenCape 100% fiber optic network is the best in the world. Identical to Google Fiber, though not as extensive, yet.
But the real story is that it’s open access. Even Google won’t allow other service providers on their networks in Kansas City and, soon, Austin. The OpenCape network can be used by ANY legitimate company that wants to compete in the region and sell broadband. Everyone gets equal and open access.
Open access means the new OpenCape network is a regional asset. It isn’t controlled by any one company that might want to squash competition. The network gives our region a powerful, vendor-neutral, open-access infrastructure to support our current and future economies. And it’s operated by people who were born and raised in Massachusetts. This is much more than a business to us – it’s our legacy.
The story is just beginning. The OpenCape network will be lit in the next few weeks. It’s understandable that some buyers don’t want to be the first to jump into the pool. After all, most of CapeNet’s first customers are data-intensive businesses for whom Internet access is mission-critical. This is a marathon, not a sprint. In the long run, I have no doubt that we’ll be a force for positive change.
The bottom line is that when we have more choices for broadband services, we have more leverage against huge companies that have gone unchallenged. We’ll have more power to demand better service and better prices. This changes everything.
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