OpenCape Pushes for Better Internet Accessibility

Image courtesy of OpenCape

HYANNIS – OpenCape is advocating for improving internet accessibility on the Cape & Islands.

Barnstable County is deciding on how to best use over $40 million in COVID-19 recovery money and Open Cape Steven Johnston is asking residents to consider the importance of expanding internet infrastructure in our region. 

OpenCape, a Barnstable-based nonprofit technology company who also sells internet services, has owned and operated a network of fiber optic cables since 2012.

In a recent interview with NewsCenter, Johnston spoke on why he is trying to expand internet services in Massachusetts.

“The goal is here to broaden the reach, broaden the flow of dollars to multiple regions across the Commonwealth so people can have a choice,” Johnston said.

Johnston said that of the recent $4 billion Covid relief bill signed by Governor Baker, $50 million will go toward broadband expansion and only a quarter of that amount will go toward expanding connectivity in the Commonwealth.

Johnston said that OpenCape’s network is state-of-the-art, but more funds would be needed to connect more people.

OpenCape’s network was initially comprised of 350 miles of fiber optic cables and was first funded from a grant from the American Recovery Act, to connect schools and libraries to Providence and Boston.

With now over 550 miles of cables, OpenCape currently connects businesses, hospitals, police and fire stations, and over 60 schools in southeastern Massachusetts.

Johnston said that the pandemic made more families aware of the need for stronger internet with so many people working from home and students learning remotely.

In a survey OpenCape conducted, over 80% of respondents on Cape Cod & Islands reported they were unhappy with their current internet service provider and over 40% of respondents said they pay more than $150 per month for those services.

“We’re trying to look at how to make access affordable for everyone so that they’re not spending a huge amount of their paycheck on internet connectivity,” Johnston said.

To hear the full Sunday Journal interview with Steven Johnston, click here.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

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