Senate amendments seek tech funds for Cape and Islands

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The state Senate passed an amendment to a technology bond bill Thursday that will study improved internet for the Cape and Islands, according to a press release issued by state Sen. Julian Cyr’s office.

Cyr, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, offered the amendment, which authorizes the Baker-Polito administration to spend $400,000 for the Cape Cod Commission to conduct a regional study of internet access for residential and commercial properties across Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, and identify the most significant gaps in cell phone signal coverage across the region, according to the release. The Cape Cod Commission would work collaboratively with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the town of Nantucket, and various other municipalities and organizations.

Because it’s a bond bill, it requires approval by the Baker-Polito administration in order for the funds to be realized, the release states. 

Other amendments offered by Cyr include funds to equip Cape Cod Community College students with technology for remote learning, and $2.9 million to fully fund a Public Health Data Warehouse for ongoing tracking of public health trends related to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is an accelerant to virtually every trend in the modern economy — including the widespread adoption of telecommunications technology to conduct essential errands, business, schooling, and socializing,” Cyr said in the release. “These appropriations help ensure that rural communities aren’t left behind as the pandemic takes more of life online.”