Boston’s Innovation District to get high-speed Internet, at last
- Kyle Alspach
- VC Editor – Boston Business Journal
Located near the South Boston waterfront, the city’s “Innovation District” houses dozens of tech startups. More are arriving every month.
It’s also a place with a paradox: Internet service is actually pretty slow in parts of the Innovation District.
On Thursday, the city and Comcast said work is finally under way to change that. After months of planning, Mayor Thomas Menino’s office said Comcast’s advanced fiber network is being expanded into parts of the district that aren’t reached by the company right now.
Dozens of businesses, from Fort Point Channel to the Marine Industrial Park, will have access to Comcast’s business-class offerings, the announcement reads (though a specific timetable isn’t given). The expansion aims to allow for download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 10 megabits per second. Bandwidth up to 10 gigabits per second will be available for businesses with the largest data needs.
Among those glad to hear the news is Boaz Sender, who moved his web development firm Bocoup LLC from A Street to Congress Street early this year to get better Internet.
“Currently south of Congress you can not get really anything besides Towerstream, which is exorbitantly expensive, microwave-based Internet,” he said. “In order to get comparable speeds to business class elsewhere, it costs thousands of dollars a month, as opposed to the $300 a month you pay for Comcast.”
Sender said he’s thrilled to see a commitment from Boston to making high-speed Internet happen for the district. Videoconferencing and video broadcasting for events, for instance, aren’t really possible right now, even for places that have decent Internet, he said.
Fixing these issues may help the neighborhood to attract businesses that currently wouldn’t consider moving there, Sender said.
But even with faster speeds, he believes a lot more must be done when it comes to Internet service for the district, especially when it comes to preventing outages.
“Generally we feel the next step after increasing bandwidth is quality of service — better uptime, guaranteed uptime,” Sender said.
Comcast said it currently provides broadband to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Fan Pier, the World Trade Center, the Seaport Hotel, restaurants at Liberty Wharf and other businesses and residential buildings. The company plans to expand its broadband services “pending permission from property owners to allow Comcast access to their buildings,” according to the press release.