OpenCape submits Federal grant application for $40M regional middle mile project

Open access network to build digital capacity for Cape Cod, the Islands and Southeastern MA

The non-profit OpenCape Corporation announced today that it has submitted its application for federal stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The federal broadband stimulus funding has $7.2 billion to be awarded nationwide, based on a competitive grants process. First round awards are expected to be announced in late 2009.

The $40 million project to build middle mile capacity on Cape Cod, the Islands, and Southeastern Massachusetts was submitted to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and will address the region’s need for digital capacity for economic development, regional sustainability, and emergency services opportunities.

“OpenCape is the product of years of work and collaboration by organizations and individuals across our region,” said OpenCape’s president, Dan Gallagher. “It’s a vital part of the region’s long term growth and competitiveness strategy and we are excited to have completed the application for first round funding from the Broadband Stimulus program.”

“It’s (OpenCape) a vital part of the region’s long term growth and competitivenessstrategy.” - Dan Gallagher, OpenCape President

OpenCape’s submitted project will provide capacity for all of the towns in Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties. In addition, 11 towns and cities of Plymouth County are included in the service area. Together, these towns contain approximately 321,204 households representing approximately 515,648 individuals, as well as 62,129 businesses.

The project, whose partners include RCN Metro Optical and Barnstable County, includes more than 300 miles of fiber optics, a microwave backhaul network, and a regional collocation data center. The open access, vendor neutral middle mile network will connect towns and schools across the region, emergency evacuation centers and libraries, and will enable competition in last mile services to homes and businesses.

Specifically, OpenCape will connect more than 70 community anchor institutions to the network as part of its initial build-out, including twelve emergency shelters located in schools, 30 libraries, five colleges, six academic research facilities, and 18 town or public safety buildings. The OpenCape path makes it possible for many additional anchor institutions to easily add service from the network.

In addition, OpenCape will build further connections to the Internet in Providence, RI along the South Coast, and to Boston through Plymouth and Brockton. These connections are needed to connect OpenCape’s middle mile capacity to the high level Internet backbone. The fiber along the South Coast can also serve as a foundation for additional broadband capacity in that region, helping to provide an economic stimulus in cities such as Fall River and New Bedford where unemployment is nearly 14 percent.

OpenCape estimates that the project will create more than 200 jobs in the equipment, construction and manufacturing sectors, as well as an additional 200 in indirect jobs.

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