Chamber of Commerce Calls for Greater Access to High Speed Internet in Position Statement

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently adopted a policy position statement on high speed internet infrastructure. The position statement calls for greater investments in high speed internet and cooperation between service providers, the business community, and government in order to bring North Central Massachusetts’ broadband infrastructure to be on par with the rest of the state.

“In this information age, this is a vital and basic resource for businesses and schools,” said Doug Peterson, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Anything less than the highest available speed is putting us at a serious disadvantage.”

“The current internet capacity in our part of the state would not be acceptable in Metro West and Greater Boston area,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “In order for our children and future generations to have a competitive edge, we need to take a serious approach at bridging this gap.”

Many parts of North Central Massachusetts including major urban areas and major industrial and commercial spaces are lacking cable infrastructure that provides access to high speed internet.

The position statement calls for cable and broadband infrastructure to be deemed a critical infrastructure, allowing upgrades to be subsidized by state infrastructure dollars and economic development grants. The statement also calls for loosening of roadblocks or other barriers to competition so that companies can more easily provide service to communities with sub-par internet capacity. Current market models for internet service providers limit customer choice; the Chamber’s statement hopes that greater competition in the market would drive better access to underserved areas.

Wireline availability in Massachusetts varies depending on internet service provider and available pole and underground infrastructure. Costs for improving infrastructure typically require investments from service providers and communities depending on cost of construction or improvements.

For more information on policy position statements visit the Chamber’s website, or contact Patrick Lawlor, public affairs manager at (978) 353-7600 ext. 224.