Northampton study will gauge market for municipal broadband


Staff Writer
Published: 2/10/2021 10:33:39 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The city is exploring whether municipal broadband could work in Northampton, with Mayor David Narkewicz working with a company to do a marketing study.

The study aims to answer questions such as, “Are there enough people that want this service?” Narkewicz said. “It’s not like we’re one of the dark communities without access to broadband.” Before investing in infrastructure, he said, the city needs to know if there actually a market for it.

The City Council approved funding for feasibility studies in February 2019.

To advise him on choosing a vendor to do the study, Narkewicz formed an ad-hoc advisory committee that includes city Chief Information Officer Antonio Pagán, City Councilor At-Large Bill Dwight and several members of Northampton Community Network — a group that is pushing for a public high-speed network.

Design Nine was chosen in October to do the study, and has “been developing and finalizing surveys for the marketing feasibility study which the city hopes to launch officially in the coming days,” Narkewicz said.

After the marketing study, the next phase of the project is to look at the costs and how a network could be created, Narkewicz said. “That’s the engineering piece of it.”

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