June Infrastructure: the digital divide

Committee members at the Infrastructure Committee meeting in June reported that the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit has been successful, with many eligible households accessing the program. The committee is curious to see what the program’s circulation has been on Cape Cod. . Committee members also reported that the EBB program has been criticized as being overly generous to providers.

Committee members also shared news of bipartisan support of bridging the digital divide in the Washington Post.

According to one committee member, the Ways and Means Committee is working on initiatives at the state level regarding funding for connectivity. Two amendments were filed in the last month. One by Senator Moran to fund an engineering study has passed through conference committee.

Committee members also discussed ways to make it easier for workers off Cape to get to the Cape. There is a profound need for workers, and not enough people on the Cape to fill many service industry jobs. The Department of Transportation is looking at possibly extending commuter rail from Middleborough to Buzzards Bay.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks have been on the increase. According to a recently published study, 73% of American businesses have experienced a DDOS attack in the last 12 months. Committee members will gather and post links to cyber-security information on the CC Tech Council website, including information on ransomware attacks. It can be found in the resources section of the site.

Open Cape won a Massachusetts Broadband Institute grant to install wireless access points in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham and Barnstable. Access points will be free through the end of the year— a provision they hope to extend.

A representative from Eversource reported on the microgrid battery project built at the Provincetown transfer station. This facility is the first of its kind in the US, expected to be operational at the end of September. It can energize 13 miles of distribution – Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown – providing one to three hours during peak season, and longer off season. Eversource is entering into battery storage and other renewables and will bring a full report to the Committee as the project unfolds.

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