Notes From the Underserved

Towns Express Overwhelming Support for WiredWest and WG&E at MBI PP Open Meeting

On February, 16, 2017 the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) held an open meeting to hear from MBI town designees and local Select board members about their thoughts regarding the results of the Private Provider RFP. The meeting took place at the Worthington, Massachusetts Town Hall.

Select board members and designees wishing to speak were asked to RSVP to MBI Deputy Director Edmund Donnelly, as each speaker was limited to 3 minutes.

Over almost a 2 hour period, one town after another told the MBI they wanted 3 things:

  1. Let the towns work with Westfield Gas & Electric to build their networks
  2. Release to each town their full allocation of the $40 million appropriated for the last mile build for both construction and professional services
  3. Allow the towns to work regionally with WiredWest if they choose.

Part 2

 

February 26th, 2017|

Notes From the Underserved Archive

We can bring you broadband if we all pull together.

Top Stories

Back regional broadband, towns tell MBI panel

By Larry Parnass, Reprinted from The Berkshire Eagle

WORTHINGTON — Broadband advocates from Berkshire County and beyond pressed Thursday for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to free up funding, speed decision-making and support regional solutions to a problem they say impairs civic life.

Their sometimes sharply worded remarks took frequent aim at the MBI itself, saying the agency assigned the job of bringing broadband to dozens of unserved communities has too often changed its rules, frustrating dogged local efforts to end the digital dark ages.

“We’ve endured a constant state of flux,” said Howard Bronstein of Plainfield.

Peter Larkin, the MBI board chairman and former Pittsfield lawmaker, joined the institute’s deputy director, Edmund […]

February 17th, 2017|

WiredWest Offers New Proposal For Western Mass. Broadband

By JIM LEVULIS, WAMC – Original post on WAMC.org

Efforts to bring broadband internet to underserved areas of rural, western Massachusetts have been ongoing for more than a decade. Now the regional cooperative WiredWest has a new proposal. It comes after Governor Charlie Baker’s administration shook up and reviewed the efforts of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.

WAMC spoke with Bob Labrie, a member of WiredWest’s executive committee, and Tim Newman, the group’s spokesman. Newman says the proposal calls for WiredWest to administer the regional internet network with private providers handling the operations.

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute did not respond to a request for […]

January 31st, 2017|

WiredWest offers broadband operations

by Larry Parnass – The Berkshire Eagle Read full story

NORTHAMPTON — Rather than build and run a sprawling regional broadband system, a nonprofit cooperative now seeks to fill a narrower but critical role for towns fighting to obtain fast internet connections.

WiredWest leaders made this case Saturday to municipal officials from across Western Massachusetts: Build your networks and let us take care of the rest.

“It’s going to save our town a lot of money in resources,” said Gayle Huntress of Shutesbury, a WiredWest leader who led the more than two-hour presentation at Northampton’s middle school. “We’re focused on solving this part.”

Thirteen […]

January 28th, 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 will stay in a place that is essentially unconnected to […]

January 17th, 2017|

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WiredWest: our cooperative solution for broadband internet in western Massachusetts

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