This is the transcript for episode 335 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode Christopher speaks with Councilor Joel McAuliffee about efforts to establish a municipal fiber network in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Listen to the podcast here.
Joel McAuliffe: What is the cost of not doing it? If we don't make this investment now, if we don't be at the forefront of this technology at this utility, what opportunities are we losing?
Lisa Gonzalez: This is episode 335 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez. When a local community considers developing a publicly-owned fiber optic network, the process from idea to implementation typically takes several years. This week, Christopher talks with Joel McAuliffe, city councilor from Chicopee, Massachusetts, a community that is currently involved in that process of consideration. Joel and Christopher discuss the city, what Internet access is like there, and the work that they've done so far in exploring options for better connectivity. They talk about some of the reasons why Joel thinks that investing in a network is the best option for his community and what they stand to risk if they don't take action. Joel also discusses what it's like as an elected official faced with this type of issue. Now, here's Christopher with councilor Joel McAuliffe from Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Chris Mitchell with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Today I'm speaking with Joel McAuliffe, the city councilor in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Welcome to the show.
Joel McAuliffe: Hey, Chris. Thanks for having me.
Christopher Mitchell: This is going to be, I think, a very good back and forth discussion. You have done a lot of research into this, you're a strong advocate for an aggressive municipal network in Chicopee, and you've made a difference — you're heading in that direction. So that's kind of a preview, but let's start a little bit with where is Chicopee and what is it's sort of economic situation. You know, what's it like to live there?