We can bring broadband to you if all of us pull together

WiredWest is a cooperative of towns in western Massachusetts that was formed to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to those of us without broadband access. A total of 32 WiredWest member towns have joined together to support building and operating a regional state-of-the-art fiber-optic network that will bring internet, digital phone, TV and more to our homes and businesses.

The cost to build the network in these towns is estimated at $79 million, and the state is contributing up to 40% of the cost through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. The rest needs to come from the  towns. This is a one-time opportunity for our communities to build and own infrastructure critical to the future of our towns, at a substantial discount to the actual cost.

For the network to become a reality, a commitment from each of us individually as well as collectively, is required. We can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen, or it won’t. We must act now, together, to get this service we so badly need.

Become a Fiber Town

For your town to become a “Fiber Town” and be part of the WiredWest network, two things must happen.

First, 40% of the households in your town must sign a conditional commitment for service and make a $49 deposit, to be applied to your first month’s bill. This is to be sure that the part of the network built in your town is financially viable. Wiring rural areas is challenging, that’s why we’ve been bypassed by the cable and telephone companies. To protect our investment in the network, we can’t just assume that if we build it, they will come. We will build it only if they come. If you come. So sign up now.

Second, a 2/3 vote in a town meeting this spring is needed to approve borrowing the funds each town must contribute as its share of network construction costs, after the state puts in its money. This is a major commitment for a town. In time WiredWest’s revenues from the network may cover all or part of the principal and interest on that debt. But the town will be on the hook, and some townspeople may oppose borrowing the money. If you want high-speed internet service, you need to be at town meeting to vote yes.

Why Fiber?

Fiber-optic cable is being deployed across the world. In the U.S by big companies like Google, Comcast and Verizon. By small telephone companies and electric cooperatives. And yes, by municipalities. Fiber is the platform best able to deliver the services of today – high-speed internet, digital phone and TV – emerging new services like telemedicine, home security and the “Internet of things,” and future services we can’t even imagine yet.

Fiber cables have a usable life of decades, and a capacity so vast it has not been fully measured, like a bottomless lake. By replacing the electronic devices that drive the network, it can be upgraded to deliver new applications as technology evolves. That’s why fiber is rapidly becoming the leading platform for 21st century telecommunications. Because it is high-performance and future-proof.

For too long we’ve been making do with satellite, DSL or wireless internet.  Fiber will render these as obsolete as a dial-up connection. DSL, delivered over aging copper telephone wires and equipment, is on its way out: “in areas that are more rural and more sparsely populated… we are going to cut the copper off there,” said Verizon’s CEO. If we are going to make the effort and investment to bring high-speed internet to everyone, we need to implement a solution that will serve our needs today and tomorrow. A solution that will make our towns attractive to new businesses and young families with kids. A solution that will enable distance learning, remote job training and all kinds of entertainment. That solution is fiber.

Life in the Fiber Lane

When your town becomes a Fiber Town on the network, you’ll be able to enjoy services such as:

  • 25Mbps fast internet service for $49 a month
  • Full-featured digital phone service for $25 more
  • 100Mbps superfast internet for $79
  • 1 gigabit (1000Mbps) ultrafast internet for $109
  • Plus a TV package more suited to your viewing interests than what cable or satellite offers

We’ll also offer special pricing for second-home owners to serve them when they’re here.

When you add up what you’re paying now for internet+phone+TV, you’ll get superior service with fiber at a lower price.

But there’s more to being a Fiber Town than just the services the network offers. The money people spend for these services will stay in the local economy. There will be more professional opportunities here, and our home businesses will be more productive. The value of your property will increase by having high-speed internet available. Our schools will be able to take full advantage of the internet to educate our kids when they have high-speed access at home. A senior citizen will be able to consult with her doctor without driving to the office, or to send an alert when she needs help.

Fiber truly is the pathway to a better future for our communities. Let’s take it!