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Block Island Residents Association / Infrastructure  / Broadband Initiative Update

Broadband Initiative Update

The Block Island Residents Association would like to report to its members, the Block Island community, and part-time residents on the status of the Broadband Initiative.

The Town of New Shoreham began the Broadband Initiative to address the issue of substandard Internet service on Block Island. This lack of high speed, reliable service has negatively affected all areas of life: education, government, public safety, medical, business, and tourism. Begun in 2009, a New Shoreham Broadband Committee has now been in place for several years and aggressively pursuing financially viable options for connecting Block Island through our fiber optic cable incorporated in our undersea power cable.

The Committee is firmly committed to bringing broadband internet to the whole island and sees this initial phase as a way to meet the most pressing needs of the community and, at the same time, provide a demonstration project for the island.

Due to some very recent developments and the knowledge of availability of additional federal and state grant funds, the Broadband Committee has decided to begin its initiative by connecting our Community Anchor Institutions (School, Medical Center, Police, Library, and Town Government) to the fiber. If all the various aspects can be worked out and necessary funding is received, this phase can be accomplished within three to four months. The Committee is firmly committed to bringing broadband internet to the whole island and sees this initial phase as a way to meet the most pressing needs of the community and, at the same time, provide a demonstration project for the island. The Committee is continuing to research and discuss appropriate business models to finance the larger network and, at the present time, is leaning towards a community owned enterprise although a pubic-private model is on the table.

The Block Island Residents Association strongly believes that high speed internet is critical to the current and future quality of life on Block Island. Think about this — if you have Verizon, your speed is 1,000 times less than what is available on the mainland; if you have satellite, your speed is 100 times less.

We encourage you to become informed about this issue; to let your neighbors and colleagues know that you support the initiative; and a letter to the editor expressing your opinion would be most helpful.

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