Council discusses potential second option for internet service

Meeting also focuses on reported vandalism and trail program.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/Special to The Sun: Moorestown Township Council held its second meeting of the month on Sept. 27 and discussed giving residents a second option for faster and cheaper internet service. Also discussed was recent vandalism at a local park.

Moorestown Township Council hosted its second meeting of the month on Sept. 27 and according to Mayor Nicole Gillespie, residents have only one option for broadband internet. Listed on the agenda was a potential second option that will provide faster internet service and save money.

Vincent DePalo, CEO of The Telecom Company, gave a presentation to members of the board about a proposal to deliver high-speed wired and wireless broadband internet services to residents of Moorestown.

According to a presentation given by DePalo, the Moorestown Open Broadband Initiative (MOBI) will utilize Moorestown’s unused infrastructure to connect up to 80 percent of Moorestown to a high-speed, modern broadband network using wireless technology. The initiative also aims to build a brand-new wireless network that will deliver affordably high-priced speed broadband to the residents of Moorestown.

“We feel that in order to benefit the community on sort of a scale basis rather than we just pay for using this asset, I think that this gives it a little bit more value, perhaps a lot more value, if everything goes very well,” said DePalo. “It also gives other incentives to the community.”

“Besides the fact that there is a potential revenue opportunity, I know that there are people in town that, in some cases, can’t afford even the lowest tier of service, or struggle to afford even the lowest tier of service of our competitor,” said DePalo.

According to the presentation and DePalo, the benefits to the community would be income stream from surcharge (determined by township); more competition and choices for residents; better internet services (higher/symmetrical speeds, more uptime); more affordable internet plans available and subsidies for low-income residents (determined by township.)

Members of the Technology Committee for Moorestown were present at the meeting and spoke about the proposed second option. The Technology Committee and The Telecom Company will work with Sue Mammarella, Deputy Mayor for Moorestown, to bring a proposal to council.

“I saw the slightly more robust version of the presentation everybody here just saw and in the beginning I remember feeling this is too good to be true, but I walked away feeling ‘where has this been all my life,’” Technology Committee member Kristine Picocola said.

Daniel Wilt, Chair for the Technology Committee, expressed his gratitude about having more options for residents of Moorestown.

“I think the overall general sense from the Technology Committee was supportive of investigating going forward looking at what were the options for us to move forward with this type of solution,” said Wilt. “We’re supportive of options for the residents of the township to be able to have choices.”

The next item for discussion listed on the agenda were updates from council members. Councilman David Zipin informed the board of a presentation at the Open Space Advisory Committee meeting that focused on a trail enhancement program that would work to network some of the existing trails together and provide an opportunity to utilize those trails in a more comprehensive way.

“Something that’s very much in the exploration stage but interesting nonetheless and something to maybe keep an eye out on as we move forward,” said Zipin.

Councilman Jake Van Dyken shared with the Board recent bouts of vandalism he’s been advised of, specifically at a local park.

“Be on the lookout for it. Please report it. If you see suspicious activity it has got to stop,” said Van Dyken. “It’s an issue and I just say that parents should be on the lookout and residents.”