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Towns ready to connect to new Regional Wide Area Network

Barnstable County, through the Strategic Information Office of the Cape Cod Commission with technical assistance from its IT Department, has officially launched the county’s first Regional Wide Area Network for shared use by all towns on Cape Cod.

In the initial launch, the County-wide network connects 13 of the 15 Cape Cod municipalities together, opening the possibility for greater economies of scale for group purchasing of managed services and regional applications such as the e-permitting platform developed and supported through the Commission.

Kristy Senatori, Deputy Director of the Commission stated, “We’re very pleased with this beginning and we expect the towns will bring more buildings on board over time as they experience the enormous potential for cost savings, innovation and shared applications.”

The Regional Wide Area Network, or RWAN, is made possible by the OpenCape Network built over the past three years, which provides the fiber optic backbone to which the RWAN connects. The County Commissioners contracted with CapeNet earlier this year to build and maintain RWAN connections after a public bidding process. Under contract with OpenCape, CapeNet built, operates and sells high-speed broadband on the OpenCape fiber-optic network.

“The RWAN is the final connection we need to deliver exactly the kind of services we’ve been talking about since the County’s initial investment in developing the OpenCape Network,” County Commissioner Sheila Lyons said.

The RWAN will initially provide 1Gbps shared connectivity to the Internet at no cost to the towns, and planned hosted services for participating Cape Cod municipalities, non-profits and educational facilities. Contracts have been executed between Barnstable County and the towns.

“With the leadership of Barnstable County and the Cape Cod Commission, launch of the RWAN completes one aspect of the vision of the OpenCape Network,” OpenCape CEO Dan Vortherms said. He added that the OpenCape Network was designed with enough capacity for decades of growth.

Alan Davis, President and CEO of CapeNet added, “CapeNet already has extensive customer relationships with the towns and we’re pleased to support the County’s leadership in extending the network to more locations.” Additional services such as unified communications, video conferencing, surveillance, network perimeter security services, GIS, financial management and other software could also be offered on the network.

“The regional wide area network provides an opportunity for the Town of Wellfleet to improve information sharing between departments for improved delivery of services,” Wellfleet Town Administrator Harry Terkanian said. “For example, by giving the building department and beach sticker sales office access to current assessing department data we can act on citizen transactions at those offices based on real time information.”

CapeNet has set up, configured and connected each participating governmental entity to the RWAN through one or more key municipal and educational locations. CapeNet also works with them to configure front end devices or advise on upgrading obsolete hardware. Municipalities are responsible for connectivity between RWAN connection points and the rest of their local networks.

Barnstable County serves as fiduciary agent on behalf of participating municipalities, non-profits and educational facilities.

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