To modernize and expand the inadequate communications infrastructure in Southeastern Massachusetts, the region’s leaders are pursuing $40 million in ARRA funding for a regional broadband network that would boost business growth, enhance education and scientific research, improve public safety services, and reliably provide for emergency communications in times of crisis. The OpenCape concept relies on a public-private partnership to build out the region’s fiber optic backbone, sustain the network financially into the future, and create a shared, multi-purpose regional data center.
During spring 2006, well before the passage of ARRA, leaders of several nonprofits convened roughly 100 stakeholders from across their region at Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) to discuss the need and opportunity to bring broadband service to Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. Out of this gathering of government, business, educational, and nonprofit representatives, ultimately emerged OpenCape Corporation, a new 501(c)(3) entity that is now leading the region’s $40 million grant application for ARRA’s competitive Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. With a governing board representative of Cape Cod both geographically (in terms of jurisdictions) and functionally (in terms of institutions), OpenCape has, for the last two years, been developing the analysis, plans, and partnerships necessary for a comprehensive broadband system for the entire region.