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Cambridge, MA

Councilor Patty Nolan

“Even before the pandemic, access to reliable, affordable, adequate broadband/internet was an essential part of our lives.  Broadband is an essential part of infrastructure government must ensure is available to all residents.  Equity, fairness and good governance demand that we address the digital divides in our communities.”

“By joining Next Century Cities, we hope to learn from other municipalities, share our experience, and become part of a broad coalition of forward thinking leaders who understand that we are all better off by working together and building on each other’s successes.”

Our city identified digital equity and access to broadband as an important issue over a decade ago.  Efforts were made to document the needs, understand the issues, and identify ways to address concerns.  In 2014 the City Council started a process that led to the formation of a Broadband Task Force.  Through 2015 and 2016 the task force met and studied the question, culminating in a recommendation to move forward with a full fledged feasibility study for a municipal broadband network.  Despite widespread community support, the city administration held off on authorizing a study.  In 2019 the community advocated more strongly, and the City Council in 2020 led a successful effort to fund a feasibility study.  Concurrently, the city has engaged in a digital equity study that will inform the feasibility study.  In 2021, the RFP will be finalized, and a full study of what a municipal broadband network would entail will be done.