2015-01-15 / Around Town

New Report Will Help Guide IT Improvements

By James Merolla

A report authored by Broadband Rhode Island, an agency of Rhode Island state government, is due out by the end of January and will help planners to determine what Aquidneck Island communities must do to stay current with Internet and other technology issues.

Newport City Councilor Naomi Neville, who has formed a Newport IT group to work on these issues, told a meeting of the Middletown Economic Advisory Committee on Jan. 13 that the agency’s report would help to enlist the state as a partner to determine “what our true needs are“ to ensure quality broadband performance on Aquidneck Island in the future.

“The study will be published by the end of this month and also deals with possible solutions and who we can potentially partner with,” said Tom Burton, chief digital officer for the state of Rhode Island. Burton said 10 months ago he began a “thorough” analysis of the broadband needs on both Aquidneck Island and Block Island. The report, he said, will also include a cost analysis.

Matt Wainwright, Middletown IT director, told the gathering at Middletown Town Hall that the island’s broadband connections are too slow, adding that his town had lost four or five new businesses because of that. He said 80 percent of the island today uses basic cable for Internet service and that DSL, the slowest service through the phone system, is still widely used here.

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