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Wired West August and September 2014 Project Updates
Wired West Project Updates

September 2014: Status Update

It’s been a busy month for regional last-mile planning, and we’re pleased to report that meaningful progress is finally being made. We share the frustrations of our fellow residents about how long it’s taking to get robust broadband access to homes and businesses and believe the resources are now in place to expedite the planning process, and move into financing and deployment of the network.

WiredWest has recently had several meetings with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) and along with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), we have agreed to convene in working groups on a weekly basis to accelerate the planning process. This will put us on track to meet with town leaders this fall to provide updates and relay more details on town financial participation.

Of special mention was a meeting yesterday at the State House, hosted by Senator Stan Rosenbergand the Western Massachusetts Legislative Delegation, to discuss cooperative planning efforts on a last-mile solution. The meeting culminated in the Legislative Delegation issuing a joint statementannouncing the collaboration on last-mile efforts between MBI, WiredWest and FRCOG.

Each of these organizations brings unique and critical strengths to the effort of planning, deployment and operation of a last-mile broadband network in our region. MBI has extensive legal and consultant resources, and valuable experience building the comprehensive middle-mile fiber network in Western Massachusetts. WiredWest was founded by the very unserved communities a potential last-mile network would serve, and was organized utilizing the Municipal Lighting Plant statute: M.G.L. Chapter 164, section 47c , one of the country’s most progressive statutes for municipalities looking to create their own telecommunications networks. WiredWest has also spent the last few years researching the financing, construction and operation of municipal fiber-optic networks, and compiled critical documentation for bringing a fiber-optic network to fruition in our region. The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is a regional planning agency and has deep connections within the Franklin county communities. They have been engaged in broadband and technology advocacy for the area for more than a decade.

With the three organizations working cooperatively, we can expedite the timeline for our unserved communities to get robust, affordable broadband access–and join the 21st century. We will be co-hosting community outreach meetings with town leaders in the coming months and will keep you updated on our progress.

August 2014: Status Update

On August 6th, Governor Deval Patrick signed the IT Bond Bill into law. The bill contained authorization for $50 million to go towards last-mile broadband infrastructure in unserved and partially-cabled towns in western and central Massachusetts. WiredWest was invited to participate in the signing to represent our unserved communities.

As the monies authorized the bill are appropriated, which is typically a multi-year process, they will be administered by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI). WiredWest continues to work with MBI on financial modeling and financing strategy to create a solution for bridging the funding gap for a robust, regional last-mile fiber-optic network to serve homes and businesses

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