The vast majority of Princeton residents want…no, need…broadband for their daily lives. But if 66% of the town doesn’t vote to approve a seemingly minor, moneyless motion at the Annual Town Meeting on May 13, then all broadband progress is legally bound to be suspended — at least until 2016! Complacency is our only true enemy.
It’s all so bittersweet for us Princeton residents. On the one hand, we are all invited to an open house at the Princeton Library this week so people can experience the wonders of a high-speed fiber connection to the internet. On the other hand, we all have to return to our homes after that event, all of which are on the wrong side of the tracks, digitally speaking.
If you are sick and tired of living on the wrong side of the tracks and want actual change, here are three must-do activities that you need to undertake this May.
1. Read about the “game changing” Matrix/Millennium proposal.
The big “game changing” news of 2014 is that Princeton has received a proposal from Matrix/Millennium that would construct a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network under a public/private partnership. However, instead of the network construction being funded fully out of taxes, under this proposal, the network would be paid for by subscribers over a period of years. This proposal can truly be a win/win situation for Princeton residents — the opportunity for high-speed internet without paying for the whole thing ourselves. Read more details here or check out The Landmark article Another option for high speed internet.
However, as game changing as this proposal may be, it is fully contingent on the upcoming broadband votes at the Annual Town Meeting.
2. Attend the Annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 13 and vote YES on the two broadband motions.
If you are serious about wanting broadband in town, you absolutely must attend this event (May 13, 7pm at Thomas Prince School) . Even if you don’t think about politics much. Even if you don’t normally get involved in town affairs. Even if you have a busy week already. The regulars, those who never miss annual town meetings, may or may not approve these motions. That’s why we need the full town represented in the vote and not let our future be dictated by a small minority of residents.
The two motions that we will be voting on seem like minor issues. But if the first is not approved by 66% of the town, the results would be catastrophic.
Motion #1: A vote to establish a Telecommunications MLP (Municipal Light Plant). According to Mass state law, we can’t go forward with any broadband solution unless we have a legal telecommunications entity established for the town. A Telecommunications MLP is minimal or no cost to us, but it is one of those legal “checkmarks” that must be checked off our list to continue. (Check out The Landmark article on the motion.)
Here’s the tricky thing about this vote. Mass law requires the town residents vote twice to establish an MLP. The first vote successfully passed at the 2013 town meeting. So, we have to vote one more time this year. Sounds like all standard stuff, right? Here’s the catch:
- The vote must be approved by 66% of the town residents, not a simple majority. That’s why your attendance at the town meeting is so essential. It doesn’t take many NO voters to take down a 2/3rds vote.
- If the second vote fails, we can’t vote on the motion again for another 2 years.
See the dire implications? The vast majority of Princeton residents want…no, need…broadband for their daily lives. But if 66% of the town doesn’t vote to approve a seemingly, minor moneyless motion at the Annual Town Meeting on May 13, then all broadband progress is legally bound to be suspended — at least until 2016! Complacency is our only true enemy. Come hell or high water, be there on May 13!
Motion #2: Request for $17,000 for technical and legal expertise to represent the town’s interest in any negotiations to build a network. To be clear, this is not a request to fund building a network. Instead, this is a smaller fund to ensure that any sort of private/public plan that emerges is in the best interest of the town.
3. Tell your friends and neighbors.
Make sure you spread the news about the Matrix/Millennium proposal and upcoming town votes with your friends, neighbors, and fellow parents at little league practices/games. What’s more, we encourage you to Like us on Facebook and share our posts with your Facebook friends. Let’s work together to ensure that the full town of Princeton is represented at the Annual Town Meeting this year.
4. Check out the fiber broadband connection at Princeton Library.
If the first three are required actions for every Princeton resident, the fourth to-do is more of an option. We invite you to check out the newly connection fiber internet at Princeton Library. If the Matrix/Millennium proposal is approved, this is exactly the same type of FTTH connection that you will be able to enjoy.
If you have any questions, get in touch.