Broadband Committee: High-speed internet needed more than ever

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 11:15am

The following was submitted by the Block Island Broadband Committee:

The Broadband Committee has been meeting over many years to bring broadband speeds comparable to the mainland and has determined that building our own broadband network is the best option. We have already implemented the Community Anchor Institutions broadband network that has brought reliable high-speed internet to our Medical Center, School, Public Safety, Library, Town Hall and Power Company. The next step is to make affordable high-speed internet available to every home and business. 

High-speed internet is no longer a luxury. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that Block Island needs reliable internet now more than ever. Our families need it at home to enable virtual student learning and completion of internet based assignments, our businesses need it to operate and promote their businesses, our second homeowners need it to work remotely, and most importantly our residents need it to access telemedicine services from their on-island and off-island health care providers. 

The Committee sought bids and has chosen the most viable and cost-effective proposal to implement affordable Islandwide broadband. This solution builds upon the foundation of our CAI Network by connecting all homes and businesses using fiber-optic cable and technology. This initiative is akin to bringing electricity to Block Island in 1925. Outfitting the island for broadband, whether you choose to use the services offered or not, is essential now and for Block Island’s future generations.

High-speed internet also enables subscribers to access modern entertainment and leisure services, including video streaming, alternatives to broadcast or satellite-delivered television, and online gaming. Availability of high-speed internet, like electricity, clean water and safe sewage disposal, is no longer optional for our community. It is critical for its longterm viability and the health and happiness of our residents.