To the Editor:
I’ve included my brief response to your recent article on OpenCape’s microwave extension to Martha’s Vineyard by Steve Myrick. We had spoken briefly about OpenCape after your presentation at the Chappy Community Center this year. We had hoped that the paper would have taken a hard look at the OpenCape process, as it siphoned the stimulus money Martha’s Vineyard should have shared in, to build our own fiber-optic network. Instead of writing an article that might have championed Martha’s Vineyard, your paper opted for an OpenCape commercial. After your speech, we would have expected more from the MV Times.
There’s a good reason Martha’s Vineyard has not jumped onto the OpenCape bandwagon. For Dan Gallagher, it has never been about providing service for Martha’s Vineyard, but in maintaining the entire sum of money for the Cape project. No one argues against the utility of a fiber-optic network on the Cape, but the only reason OpenCape’s application for $32 million of stimulus money was approved was due to Senator John Kerry’s inclusion of Chappaquiddick and Gosnold in the grant. Chappaquiddick had been designated an area of Internet need, thus elevating their application. The inclusion of a microwave connection to Chappy was never designed as a solution for Martha’s Vineyard, but rather as the fulfillment of a state contractual obligation for their additional funding. OpenCape never did any due diligence to review the needs of Martha’s Vineyard or Chappy.
Mr. Gallager was asked several times for a small portion of the money, in order to fuel the extension of cable to underserved areas of Martha’s Vineyard. He refused on each occasion, stating that all the money had already been appropriated to the Cape. He was asked several times to remove the “islands” from his mission statement. He refused. The inclusion of Martha’s Vineyard into his grant limited our ability to apply for our own funding which would have allowed a real fiber network for our schools, businesses, and homes.
A microwave extension is a poor man’s solution for Martha’s Vineyard. It does not deliver high-speed access or bundled services to lower our costs. In fact, Mr. Gallagher has no concerns as to how the signal reaches your homes, only that the tower completes OpenCape’s obligation by 2013. There is no funding for the network backbone.
Although not a perfect solution, a small amount of the $32 million dollar grant would have easily paid for the extension Comcast is demanding to access underserved areas of Martha’s Vineyard.
If the MV Times is going to print a commercial for Dan Gallagher’s OpenCape without seriously reviewing its details and goals, the article should be placed in the advertising section.