Residents in Falmouth (MA) experience inconsistent broadband speeds and frequent outages, according to a CCG Consulting study conducted in March 2020. The Falmouth Enterprise reported CCG determined that building a new high-speed fiber-optic network is financially feasible to remedy the town’s broadband challenge.
The study surveyed 378 residents and uncovered that internet access in the town is insufficient, which was determined separately by a public speed test. “The Comcast network is not delivering the speeds that customers are paying for,” the study concluded. “Forty-three percent of Comcast customers showed download speeds under 100 Mbps, with 23 percent of customers getting download speeds under 50 Mbps.”
The Enterprise reported that Comcast advertises speeds of up to 150 Mbps in Falmouth, while another option, Verizon DSL, typically delivers speeds of under 10 Mbps. The study reported download speeds for Comcast customers are under 15 Mbps, with 14 percent under 5 Mbps; Verizon customer experience speeds are 1 Mbps or less.
CCG noted that a new, high-speed fiber-optic network would deliver faster speeds to Falmouth homes and businesses. From a cost-efficiency standpoint, CCG recommends a passive optic network technology to connect homes and businesses. The network would require 390 miles of new fiber construction on existing utility poles and 70 miles of new buried fiber construction, reported the Enterprise. The cost, estimated by CCG, totals $54,595,670. The report also found that fiber-sharing may be available with existing OpenCape Corporation routes.
“This new fiber network would eliminate the slowdowns and interruptions in internet service that many homes experienced during the pandemic,” CCG reports. “It will also have the capacity to accommodate future growth for broadband services as more people work from home on the Cape; as business demand for uploading data continues; and as health care providers, schools, and community institutions continue to provide more internet-based services in a post-pandemic world.”
As a next step, CCG recommends the town figure out funding and assemble a community volunteer committee to champion the project. According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents favor a new high-speed fiber network for the town. In addition, CCG projects a 61 percent penetration rate over five years.
“CCG has done hundreds of surveys for communities, and the 61 percent result is near the top end of the range of results that we’ve seen for communities of Falmouth’s size,” the report states. “This one survey result is highly promising and provides the town with a good reason to take the next steps in looking at the feasibility of bringing fiber to Falmouth.”