Friday, April 19, 2024

Members are needed for a new task force that will examine broadband service in Cambridge and evaluate its fiber infrastructure.

The task force will examine options to increase competition, reduce pricing and improve speed, reliability and customer service for residents and businesses. Additionally, it will investigate how to leverage the city’s current or future fiber assets to expand access to broadband services, including to Cambridge Housing Authority properties.

The work of the task force will help ensure that Cambridge remains a world-class city in which to live, work, innovate and learn, officials said. The final report of the committee will help the city plan for the future and set realistic expectations with the public, as creating alternative solutions can take years to fully implement.

The task force will meet regularly and be charged with:

bullet-gray-smallEngaging the broader community, including residents, business and university partners, in understanding current and future broadband needs;

bullet-gray-smallUnderstanding and documenting existing broadband service in Cambridge – speed, reliability, cost and customer service;

bullet-gray-smallUnderstanding and documenting the existing broadband and fiber infrastructure, private and public;

bullet-gray-smallExamining best practices and models used by other communities across the United States to improve access to broadband services;

bullet-gray-smallDeveloping a range of alternatives for improving access to broadband services, including: increased private competition, a mesh network, a municipal fiber network connected to public housing properties, a municipal fiber backbone throughout the city and a complete municipal broadband network;

bullet-gray-smallEvaluating each alternative by conducting an analysis of the level of service provided, their cost to customers and to the city, customer service, sustainability and flexibility in adapting to improving technologies;

bullet-gray-smallCreating business models for providing Internet service that includes: funding, cost recovery, governance model and subscription structure, including options for people with limited ability to pay; and

bullet-gray-smallDeveloping recommendations for leveraging public-private partnerships, including regional initiatives, in achieving alternative access to broadband services.

Prospective members Cambridge’s university, innovation, civic and business communities are encouraged to apply by sending a letter via email; fax at (617) 349-4307; or mail by May 30 to City Manager Richard C. Rossi describing briefly the applicant’s interest in the committee, relevant background, skills and related experience.

The mailing address is City of Cambridge, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139.