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Broadband Committee Minutes 8/24/2011

Town of Tolland
Broadband Committee
Meeting Minutes:  August 24, 2011

Meeting Called to Order:  3:10 p.m.
Present:  Gloria Gery, Cathy Parzych.  Excused:  David Pickhardt

New Business:
Wired West is a Cooperative of rural towns in the 140-town area of Western Massachusetts where the Massachusetts Broadband Institute is providing “middle mile” fiber optic wiring to connect town libraries, schools, town hall and fire and police departments to broadband internet capability.  This will be an open network that permits any “last mile” provider approved by the towns to serve residential dwellings, businesses and other town facilities.    Working under a Mass. State law on electrical coops, towns would form a board to manage broadband within the town.

Wired West is currently in its organizational phase with initial funding through private donations and a grant from Mass. Broadband Institute.  It is educating communities and soliciting town memberships which require a $1000 joining fee and a 2/3rds majority vote by towns by residents at Special Town Meetings at two consecutive town meetings arranged for this purpose.  Votes on Wired West warrants can be added to other scheduled town meetings.  Priority to provide broadband will be based on the order in which towns enter the coalition.  Long term primary funding will be solicited by Wired West through issuance of Bonds to be sold on the open bond market.  If a town rejects membership in its initial vote it is not eligible to vote again for two years from the date of the last vote.

Wired West will offer advanced fiber optic cable network capabilities including much higher broadband speeds than the DSL lines or satellite internet currently available in Tolland.  It will also permit dramatic residential savings through bundling voice, television and internet services to a residence (i.e. at least 50% less than current communications/television costs).

  • Broadband Committee will meet with Selectmen to discuss Wired West and its alternatives, requirements and consequences of Tolland’s joining now to obtain priority for a network or later which results in delays.  “Last mile” wiring can only occur after the “middle mile” fiber is laid along Route 57.
  • Broadband Committee will request an educational presentation in Tolland during the first week of October 2011 to enable voters to understand the program,  requirements of the town, and advantages and capabilities of the network itself.

Meeting adjourned:  4:30 p.m.

Next meeting date:  TBD

Respectfully submitted:

Gloria Gery

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