Bob Handsaker’s notes:

Tim Connolly is the new MTC executive directory.
The MBI board adopted a revised last-mile program policy.  The changes are in line with the Governor’s new direction in May. They include:
  • Looking to private sector solutions whenever possible
  • Loosen requirements for connections to the MBI123 network
  • Remove sections describing the rationale for some of the allocations, but reassure towns the (construction?) allocations were firm
  • Add criteria for private sector partners:  Demonstrated experience, solid financials.
  • Ensure open and appropriate procurement practices
  • Remove requirements for insistence on town ownership to provide flexibility
  • An appeal process to the MBI chair for special circumstances

Some edits were still being made yesterday, particularly suggestions by Don Dubendorf.

The changes are to promote flexibility, the core of the policy is 96% coverage at FCC speeds of 25/3.
Timelines
Two towns have exited readiness (Ashfield and Egremont).
Six towns are starting pole surveys (led by Ashfield starting next week).
The RFP for the design/engineering firm is progressing.  Responses are due back soon.
They hope to have a grant contract available in November (this is for towns that are getting a construction grant for a non-MBI-managed project).
They hope to have a Participation Agreement available in November (for towns doing a MBI-managed project).
They are hoping to bring the design/engineering firm for board approval in November, get started on design in December.
Very interesting comments from Don Dubendorf who said three things:
(a) Very supportive of MBI looking at private sector solutions and
suggesting that this would be much better financially for many of the towns.
(b) Pointed said that if MBI failed to bring solutions to the last half
dozen towns, then they had “failed in their mission”.
(c) He said it’s an unpopular view that no one wants to hear, but maybe
some additional funds would be needed for some of the towns.
In response to (c) Carolyn Kirk (EOHED) said that there is a lot of talk
about this – they call it “the extra mile”.