The non-profit, which currently provides high speed broadband to more than 100 libraries, schools, colleges, government buildings, hospitals, public safety agencies and research facilities in Southeastern Massachusetts and on Cape Cod and the Islands, is asking residents to provide data through its new CrowdFiber tool at opencape.org.
“This is an option for people to look at OpenCape as an alternative,” said Steven Johnston, the executive director of OpenCape. “We’re not going to offer TV. We’re not going to have a triple play. We are going to offer superfast internet at a really affordable price and that is our goal and objective.”
Johnston said the non-profit really wants to get a handle on what the demand is for the broadband service, which offers Gigabit+ speeds.
“It makes sense that if we are going to extend the fiber and build out from the backbone and build out these laterals into communities that we would do it where the biggest population can take advantage of it,” Johnston said.
Johnston said the CrowdFiber tool can provide data to be able to go to individual towns where a large population expresses interest in joining the network.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a pool of money that I can pay for hooking up the entire Cape. It would cost me $150 million,” Johnston said. “But on a town-by-town basis or on a regional basis I think we can find a strategy to fund connecting communities.”
A couple case studies can be found at opencape.org which details how other towns in Massachusetts that have connected the entire community.
“Maybe just to get the ball started, for the first town we’re actually providing the service initially or I’m bringing in another internet service provider.”
Johnston said his goal is to have at least one community on Cape Cod committed to joining the fiber optic network by the end of the year.
“The great thing about the OpenCape network is we have this world class, state-of-the-art fiber network on Cape Cod which was literally built for the future,” Johnston said. “I can literally take the entire internet traffic of the planet and run it across our network. It is that sophisticated.”
For more information and to provide input through the CrowdFiber tool visit opencape.org.
Johnston said he hopes users urge others in their communities to also contribute.
“It’s not just about getting individuals. It’s about getting entire neighborhoods and communities,” Johnston said.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter