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January 17th, 2017|

Who Is Killing the Towns of Western Massachusetts?

by Susan Crawford. Reprinted from BackChannel. Read the original article.

It may be the governor. In the State House. With the lobbyists.

This is the story of a dramatic failure of imagination and vision at the state level: Governor Charlie Baker’s apparent insistence that Massachusetts relegate small towns to second-rate, high-priced, monopoly-controlled (and unregulated) communications capacity. It’s a slow-rolling tragedy that will blight Western MA for generations. The likely outcome: Only those plucky, scrappy towns that elect to build on their own will escape the grip of unconstrained pricing for awful service.

The rest will fade into irrelevance.

What new American generations […]

January 17th, 2017|

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|

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Notes From the Underserved

2017 New Years Message, Steps Forward from WiredWest

With the start of the new year, we want to thank your supporters and share with you our new plans for moving forward in 2017.

As you may know, in late 2015 Governor Baker placed a ‘pause’ on all state Last Mile Broadband projects. In May 2016 the Baker Administration lifted the ‘pause’ and named a new team to lead the effort. Since that time, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI, the state agency charged with broadband development to unserved towns) has been working to build individual town-owned and run networks through a newly-created Town Readiness process.

Our original plan, which was supported by MBI when you signed up for service, called for the WiredWest cooperative to own and operate a regional network on behalf of our member towns. MBI has since changed its policy and now insists that each town own its network infrastructure individually.

Since our inception in 2010, our vision has always been to work together on a regional basis to provide a cost-effective and sustainable fiber optic network bringing affordable broadband service to everyone. To comply with MBI policy, WiredWest has developed a new Regional Broadband Solution that will link individual town networks into a regional one by partnering with an experienced broadband provider to deliver services, and to operate and maintain the network on a regional basis. Efficiencies of this network allow it to be operated with significant savings and with other advantages over independent town-run networks.

WiredWest is finalizing a plan with Town Delegates and will be […]

January 8th, 2017|

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 spent $80M building 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 […]

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!

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Recent Updates

January 17th, 2017

Who Is Killing the Towns of Western Massachusetts?

January 17th, 2017

The State Should Work with WiredWest on a Regional Plan

December 6th, 2016

Broadband effort gets back on track

October 16th, 2016

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February 25 @ 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.