To the Editor:
In regards to the Islander’s broadband editorial in last week’s paper, I wish someone had reached out to the Communications and Technology Task Force (CTTF) for clarification or additional information. Many of the issues brought up already have been discussed by both the CTTF and Tilson, as well as in public workshops held over the past year.
The editorial misses the point of the project in regards to increasing broadband access, while “much of the community already has some options.” Not all residents do. And, what options we do have, are only what the incumbent providers feel like offering at their own price points.
While what we have now might be okay for some, it may or may not ever increase.
The editorial briefly mention spending $100,000 on a study to research things in more detail, and then states that it would be better spent asking more questions. “Study” is a bit of a misnomer in this context, as this is an engineering diagram that we can use to put the project out to bid.
Much like you would not hire a contractor to start construction on your house without a blueprint, we can’t ask for final costs without more detail.
The editorial lumps a Municipal Fiber Network build out and expanding broadband to all residents into the same project, when the CTTF has been clear from the start that this is two separate projects, intertwined as they might be.
Can increasing broadband happen without the Municipal Fiber build? Probably not. But the recommendation to the council to build the network was the first step in this project to start a dialogue to make it happen. We would have hoped that we would get more encouragement to study the costs, to make this a viable reality for everyone, rather than the negative reaction in the editorial.
Matthew A. Hochman