135 signatures and climbing … can we reach 1000?

We passed 100 signatures!

Our petition on iPetition.com has reached 135 signatures as of this morning. Thanks to all who have signed the petition and to those promoting it among their families and friends.

Our next goal is 1000 signatures. With 28,000 people in Northampton, reaching 1000 means about 3% of the population has signed the petition. Please keep promoting and networking our petition. The only way a community network happens in Northampton is if citizens demand it. It’s not that the mayor and city council are likely to be opposed to one, but they will want clear and unambiguous support from the community to proceed because it will be a relatively expensive project and there is a lot of competition for services wanted from the city by other interest groups.

Coalition members are definitely promoting the petition among friends, neighbors and colleagues. The effort is looking very grass roots so far! We’ll be reaching out to more local groups and taking out an ad on Facebook to promote this initiative.

What’s going on with streaming slowdowns?

Affordable and reliable high-speed internet service is crucial for a thriving Northampton and its future. This was brought home to me this week as I was streaming YouTube content online at home this week. I am paying for the Xfinity Blast! service, which provides “up to” 200 megabits per second. Despite this I was getting regular slowdowns and stoppages viewing YouTube content, not just in the evening, but even during the day! It’s quite frustrating.

The underlying issue I and many of you are experiencing is insufficient bandwidth provided by Comcast. Much of the data moves around the city on fiber optic cables, but generally as it leaves the telephone pole it gets “stepped down” to coaxial cable. That one coaxial cable is shared bandwidth used by a “community” which Comcast defines, probably a street or two. When there is more demand that bandwidth to carry the traffic, slowdowns or stoppages occur.

These can be fixed with better engineering. To be fair to Comcast, they do periodically increase bandwidth in areas that are congested. They have no incentive though to proactively address the general problem. This is because these expenditures take money, and thus profits. Comcast has every incentive to give us just enough bandwidth to keep us from complaining too much, and pocket the rest as profit. They also allocate a fixed portion of the bandwidth for cable TV service, which is why if you have cable TV from Comcast this problem doesn’t exist. They prioritize cable TV service over internet service!

A community network can address all these problems because a community network is community owned and managed as well as offer significant savings. It’s accountable to you, not to some distant stockholders in search of profits. So keep pushing. We’ll do our part but we can’t do it without YOU!

Next meeting on November 1

The coalition’s next meeting is 7PM on Thursday, November 1, 2018. We meet at Northampton Community TV behind Northampton High School. Hope to see you there!

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