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NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Block Island Monday to celebrate the launch of “BroadbandBI,” Rhode Island’s first-ever municipally-owned fiber broadband network.

The upgraded service will provide “universal, affordable, and high-speed connectivity” to the island, according to Sen. Jack Reed.

Block Island residents have been dealing with internet service as low as 3 megabits per second. Some residents haven’t had internet connection at all.

“Residents understood the island needed to revolutionize access to modern communication infrastructure,” New Shoreham Town Manager Maryanne Crawford said. “The town should take a great deal of pride in what it has accomplished with this project … It’s extraordinary. We did this, and we did it by ourselves.”

Reed and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse traveled to the island to tour the new broadband infrastructure sites.

“Like the wind farm that powers the island, BroadbandBI is a momentous achievement for the community,” Reed said. “The network would not have been possible without the wind farm and its undersea cable that brought power and supplied eight strands of fiber cable that promised a gigabit-speed future.”

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