Michitson Calls for Regional Partnership to Bring Next Generation Broadband to Area

(File photograph.)

Councilor John A. Michitson this week called for a regional partnership to bring the next generation of broadband internet to Haverhill.

Michitson, who has been a proponent of a strong broadband strategy for some time, asserted at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that in order to stay competitive in the business world, Haverhill must have a fast, reliable, 5G, fiber optic system. (See previous story.)

As an example, he cited a system in North Carolina—the North Carolina Next Generation Network—created as a collaboration between municipalities, business and academic institutions. The system benefits all three by providing high speed, wired and wireless internet service at a substantial discount from current market prices.

Michitson also noted society has already entered the age of driverless vehicles and robotics and those innovations require an ultra-high-speed internet.

“We’re all starting to hear about the autonomous economy, starting with autonomous cars, right? They’re being tested now. Well, guess what? Those cars are connected to the network and you need a substantial network to do that,” he said.

Neither Comcast nor Verizon have plans to move in that direction. Michitson did point out, however, that the city of Salem has entered into an agreement with a group called SiFi Networks which will install a city-wide fiber system at no cost.

Michitson said he believes a similar arrangement could be possible in Haverhill if we can build a regional partnership with other cities as well as businesses, hospitals and colleges. He called on Mayor James J. Fiorentini to meet with councilors to brainstorm of ways that achieve such a coalition.

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