A Bold Endeavor

An editorial in the June 14 Falmouth Enterprise

The vote by the EDIC to commit $50,000 to a feasibility study of bringing municipal broadband to Falmouth was a bold move. It was, without a doubt, a good move; the idea of closing the gap between the OpenCape fiber optic network and residences and businesses has been out there for some time. About five years ago a friend, who was at the time helping students from China and other far-off countries apply to US colleges, argued for it; her internet service was too slow to allow for consistent face-to-face video conferencing. Others weighed in as well, but the idea went quiet for a while, surfacing here and there since then.

But now Courtney Bird and others are rallying support. And the EDIC is on board.

Committing the funds is bold because there are no guarantees. First, it might be that a study will show that there is no financially viable way of extending the OpenCape network. Good to know, if so.

It is more likely, though, that a study will turn up valuable information about needs, interests, economic benefits and, of course, costs. It might be found that a municipal network is not feasible or desired but that there is an alternate way to accomplish the same thing.

It might also be that with the town looking seriously at a high-speed network, Comcast will step up and make improvements to its Cape service.

Mr. Bird and his colleagues—there is a lot of expertise in that group—are confident that a municipal system of some sort is feasible. If that turns out to be the case, it will be interesting to see how things play out.

A municipal fiber network will require up-front expense. It will be easier to go to Town Meeting for funding with arguments already laid out in a feasibility study. But it will still be a bold move.