John Kapitzky: Northampton should explore additional Internet choices



Last modified: Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor:

I read a recent Gazette article about the progress in bringing fast Internet access to the Hilltowns with interest, as well as references to Amherst’s effort to bring free Wi-Fi to its downtown.

We in Northampton do not have widespread free Wi-Fi access in the downtown area. Nor are there any efforts, to my knowledge, being made to bring high-speed, fiber-optic cables needed for fast Internet access to residents. Northampton has two main sources of Internet access: copper-wire digital subscriber line, or DSL, for people living close enough to telephone switching stations, and Comcast broadband Internet.

While Comcast’s financial promotions might make their offering attractive for the first six to 12 months, the prices usually go up afterwards.

Has Northampton made any effort to attract additional broadband Internet providers to our city? Competition could drive down prices and possibly provide better service. I understand that wiring a city for fiber-optic access can be expensive. As an alternative, some cities have opted for a wireless approach to broadband. Their success is indicated by the number of states that have tried to outlaw municipal broadband efforts at the behest of the usual cable companies.

To make Northampton an attractive location for high-tech businesses and residents, it would seem that we could at least make an effort to seriously investigate additional Internet choices.

John Kapitzky

Florence


 

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