In this post, we look at the concern that there might not be sufficient expertise in city government to create and manage a municipal network, causing it to cost too much or to fail.
Northampton has about 30,000 residents and 10,000 households. So it’s reasonable to wonder if the size and scope of a municipal network would be too technically challenging for the City to manage.
The City already has a municipal network. But it’s just for city government and city schools. The city’s internal network is fiber to the premises. In most cases it uses a redundant fiber ring architecture. This makes it very unlikely that a remote office will lose service. In addition, it has an internet presence. The services on the City’s website, such as online bill paying, are reliable. The City also manages email for city employees and a host of other IT services too.
All this is managed by our city’s chief information officer, Antonio Pagan. We reached out to him to ask about his credentials, and they are impressive.
From 2007 to 2013, Mr. Pagan worked for Hampshire Educational Collaborative / CES. One of his main projects was to build a wide area network to interconnect around eighty special educational programs around the Commonwealth. From 2013 to 2015, he worked as the Executive Director for Integrity by CELT, a small ISP dedicated to serving school districts and municipalities around the commonwealth. During that experience he partnered with Verizon, Comcast, MBI, and other ISPs as well as implemented a fiber backbone to provide services to institutions outside the I-495 corridor and western Massachusetts at affordable prices.
So clearly Mr. Pagan has more than ample experience to oversee creating a municipal network, should this become one of his duties. If he left his job, presumably the City would hire someone of a similar caliber and with similar credentials.
So while the possibility exists that the City could make a mess of a project like this, we think the likelihood of it happening is small.