The pandemic has made clear the importance of high-speed internet – for school, work and connecting with family over the holidays. But the recent article on municipal broadband, “Comcast data cap spurs municipal internet push,” Dec. 1, page A7, does readers a disservice by conflating two issues and leaving out important context.
For starters, the term “data caps” is a misnomer as there has never been nor will there be a hard limit on internet use set by providers. Additionally, using taxpayer dollars to build government owned broadband networks is not a consumer protection strategy. Across New England, many of these government systems have proven costly, inefficient, and disastrous for local budgets already strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving taxpayers holding the bag.
Massachusetts is already a nationwide leader in broadband connectivity with 97.9% of residents having access to high-speed broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And thanks to public-private partnerships formed through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s “Last Mile” program, every remaining unserved or partially unserved community has been set on a dedicated path to broadband connectivity. Instead of rushing into costly and unreliable solutions in search of a problem, let’s build on what works for providing fast, reliable internet to consumers across the Bay State.
Tim Wilkerson, Boston
The writer is president and CEO of the New England Cable and Telecommunication Association
Website of source