Dear Princeton town residents,
I wanted to make some candid remarks and personal reflections based on last night’s first official town hearing on the broadband initiative.
My question is simple: Do you really want broadband internet to come to town? Or do you want to be stuck with third world quality internet for at least the next decade?
The answer to these questions hangs in the balance in the coming weeks – based entirely on whether or not you and I take the time to vote on this issue and encourage our friends and neighbors to do likewise.
We on the town broadband committee have received overwhelming support for the fiber-to-the-home initiative. I can say this confidently based on feedback from the town survey, comments on our Facebook page, posts on princetonbroadband.com, interactions with neighbors and friends, and conversations with many parents of Thomas Prince students. Unfortunately, none of those perspectives were represented at the hearing last night.
While there were many excellent questions asked and legitimate issues raised at the meeting, I also sensed a clear predisposition towards the status quo and a lack of urgency towards change.
I am 47 years old, and I wanted to say a special word to people of my generation or younger. Before this issue, I was never actively involved in town government or, frankly, even attended town meetings. I realized last night that my experience is typical of my age group. While the median age of Princeton residents is 40 years old, I would estimate that the average age of attendees at last night’s hearing was at least 65 years of age.
On the one hand, it was encouraging and motivating to see the active level of involvement by older members of our community. But, on the other hand, I was struck that the internet needs of the people at last night’s town hearing may not represent the parents who have children who rely on internet for education, work-from-home professionals who depend on the internet for their livelihood, and families who simply want to watch Netflix together or play Xbox Live games without endless hassle.
It’s time for the rest of us to step up, join along side those traditionally active folks, get involved, and express our perspectives too!
If you get involved, then together we can make reliable broadband internet a reality for our town – something that will be life changing for many families and work-from-home professionals.
Above all, don’t assume that the broad show of support and excitement for this initiative amongst the town residents is enough to push this through. If you and I expect others to approve this proposal without voting and speaking out, then we will all have to live with the consequences of inaction – a very real degradation in our quality of life compared to our neighbors in Rutland, Holden, and surrounding communities as well as a long-term adverse impact on our town’s real estate market.
If you have questions for the committee, by all means, please ask away! Come to the next town hearing in April, visit princetonbroadband.com, post a question on our Facebook page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, the all-important meeting you want to mark your calendar for is the Annual Town Meeting on Tue., May 14 at which the first official vote will be held on this issue.
Princeton Broadband Committee Member