Top Stories

Recent Updates

November 2nd, 2016|

The Berkman Case Study of WiredWest

ww.berkman study.COVER IMAGEThe Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University is a public policy institute whose mission is to explore and understand cyberspace. Read the Center’s just-released long-researched case study on WiredWest.

WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities Forms to Build a Fiber Optic Network. Western Massachusetts Towns Create a New Model for Last-Mile Connectivity, but a State Agency Delays Approval and Funding plus link to the study

July 9th, 2016|

Wiredwest Releases Analysis Showing Significant Cost Advantage Of A Regional Fiber Network Over Stand-Alone Town Networks

Read the Report

It recently became clear that a rational, data driven analysis comparing the financial impacts of regionalization with towns going it alone was needed for all involved. Only with such a comparison could towns make informed, eyes wide open, decisions on how best to proceed with bringing broadband to their citizens. And this data will assist our elected and appointed leaders in their effort to weigh the pros and cons of the range of solutions to bridge our digital divide. This analysis is now complete and provides an in-depth financial comparison of a regional […]

July 8th, 2016|

Small towns join forces to bridge the digital divide

PBSNewsHour

Tim Newman (WiredWest Spokesperson and Delegate from New Marlborough) and Bob Labrie (WiredWest Executive Committee, Treasurer and Delegate from Goshen) are interviewed for this piece that showcases the efforts small towns are making to bring high speed internet to rural America.

Click here for a link to the story and accompanying transcript.

While cable companies provide internet services for the majority of Americans in urban areas, many rural residents have been left on the dark side of the digital divide. According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission, 34 million Americans lack […]

July 7th, 2016|

Top Stories Archive

Notes From the Underserved

The State Should Work with WiredWest on a Regional Plan

MBI was initially funded and created by emergency legistlation in 2008 with a mandate to bring broadband internet service to all 45 unserved communities. Instead, they built the MB123 middle mile to 123 communities which they claimed would attract private companies to finish the last mile. It never did and now is a hindrance to a regional last mile network. With the second round of funding in 2014, they first said they would build a regional network that WiredWest would own and operate, then a year later they reversed and wanted each town to build and own it’s own network, now they want private partnerships. With all uncertainty about policy, towns and companies cannot make progress.

The recent Municipal Modernization act requires that priority be given to regionalization. Experts who have looked at this, e.g. the Harvard University Berkman Institute’s Case Study of WiredWest, the CTC report, even MBI’s own technical staff, have all recommended a regional approach as the most efficient and cost-effective way to make broadband available to the most communities.

Yet, despite all this, MBI resists this and encourages towns to either accept having their allotment of state funds spent on a network owned by an unregulated monopoly private company, or else to build and operate an independent network. Some of their policies impede regionalization. For example, they require each town to individually connect and utilize the MB123. This negates many of the advantages of a regional network. MBI has refused multiple offers by WiredWest to work on a regional plan that would allow many towns that cannot manage the cost and complexity of an independent network to move forward. MBI does not seem to understand that many towns cannot commit funds to a construction project without a regional management plan to make it sustainable. So far, they offer no other solution for these sparsely populated towns.

Some basic facts:

  • About 15 or so unserved towns that want to build fiber networks are too small to sustainably operate a network on their own. The fixed costs divided among too few potential customers makes the cost prohibitive. Another 10 to 15 of the more densley populated unserved towns want a regional network and see it as highly advantageous, though not necessarily required in their case.
  • If you combine those towns into a regionally managed network, then it becomes affordable and sustainable for all. Cost averaging brings the necessary subscriber price down dramatically for the sparser towns, economy of scale brings it down for all, and all the towns benefit from not having to individually hire vendors and manage the networks. There are additional benefits such as increased resilience, reduced risk, and a larger pool of qualified people to manage the network.
  • If private partners cherry pick the denser towns, which they are already doing with MBI’s urging, and are encouraged to do more of by their recent RFP, then there may no longer be enough population density in the remaining towns to make a regional fiber network feasible.

The recent Private Partnership RFP that MBI released allows proposals for networks in “one or more municipalities.” They say they will give priority […]

December 6th, 2016|

Notes From the Underserved Archive

We can bring you broadband if we all pull together.

WiredWest: our cooperative solution for broadband internet in western Massachusetts

Get the Answers

Q. Why does our region need this kind of network?

Q: How long until high-speed internet gets to us?

Q. What type and level of service will be offered and how much will it cost residents for service?

Q. Why Fiber? Why not DSL, cable, satellite or wireless?

Learn the answers & more!

Get the latest info

The State Should Work with WiredWest on a Regional Plan

December 6th, 2016

Recent Updates

November 2nd, 2016

Broadband effort gets back on track

October 16th, 2016

1Berkshire Finalist Award

October 2nd, 2016

Get the Latest

Meeting Information

WiredWest Board of Directors Meeting

December 17 @ 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

WiredWest Board of Directors Meeting

January 7, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

Working together to build a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network to serve everyone and drive regional economic growth, create jobs, improve education and healthcare, and ensure a sustainable future for our communities.