Susan Crawford is one of the three authors of the WiredWest Case Study. What Elizabeth Warren is to the Financial Services Sector, Susan Crawford is to Telecommunications Industry and the Internet. In this personal blog she expresses her dismay over the Commonwealth’s handling of the now-stalled effort to bring modern internet infrastructure to rural Western Mass (and indirectly to rural communities all over America).
The Hills Are Dead — Without the Sound of Internet Access sheds light on the national failure to provide high-speed digital access to rural America. link to her blog
Our towns are withering. Without broadband, the future of small Western Massachusetts towns is bleak…
We’ve been living on wrong side of the digital divide for years, not able to fully participate in 21st century life and falling further behind year by year. But as last summer came into bloom, it looked like everything was about to change. True broadband—fiber to the home—seemed within our grasp.
Many of us were part of that moment, participants in historical town […]
Gov. Charlie Baker and Town Leaders Talk Over Video Skype at Stan Rosenberg’s Municipal Conference. Watch and Listen as Town Leaders Tell the Governor What Life Without Broadband is Doing to Their Towns.
“The Baker administration should clear the air regarding its plans for “last mile” broadband Internet money. Doing so would clear uncertainty that now exists for WiredWest’s effort to bring Internet to the county’s smaller towns.”
The WiredWest Board of Directors has unanimously approved a substantial revision to its structural framework in response to concerns expressed by some member towns and by the MBI (Massachusetts Broadband Institute). The changes in Plan A2, as the model is now called, address three specific areas: ownership of network assets, ability of the towns to withdraw from the cooperative and the management of outsourced services.
The simpliest way to understand Plan A2 is to compare the proposed network to the functioning of a single town network. In a stand-alone model, the single town MLP would outsource key services like network operations, ISP services, call centers, technical support, billing and around-the-clock maintenance. The town of Leverett is currently functioning in this manner and has developed an overview of their institutional, contractual and financial arrangements that provides an in-depth look at what’s involved. In addition, the MLP is also responsible for the administrative functions needed to negotiate with, select, manage, monitor and pay the private sector providers of those services. This is where Plan A2 comes into play. Since most towns have neither the administrative staff nor the expertise to handle the responsibilities of running a modern telecommunications network or they prefer not to develop that capacity on a town level, WiredWest will fill that role by functioning as a regional MLP on behalf of member towns.
Plan A2 addresses the concerns of some of the member towns and the MBI as follows:
- Ownership of the network assets
Under Plan A2, towns […]
Governor Baker and Administration Leaders, MBI, and the Western Mass Legislative Delegation Meet with Unserved Town Leaders
Notes from May 10, 2016 meeting between Governor Baker and invitees from Western Mass
Baker Administration and state officials: Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, Secretary Jay Ash, Carolyn Kirk, (Deputy Secretary of Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development), Sean Cronin (Senior Deputy Commissioner of Division of Local Services [part of DOR]), Peter Larkin (MBI), Bill Ennen (MBI), Ed Donnelly (MBI), Linda Dunlavy (MBI).
Western Mass legislative delegation: Senator Stan Rosenberg, Senator Ben Downing, Rep. Steve Kulik, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, and Rep. Paul Mark. Other delegation staffers were also in attendance.
Western Mass invitees: Toby Gould (Charlemont Select Board), Kimberly Longey (Plainfield), Charley Rose (Worthington Select Board), Michael DeChiara (Shutesbury Select Board), Doug Tanner (Wendell Finance Committee), Steve Harris (Middlefield), Thomas Powers (Leverettnet), Joe Boudreau (Worthington Finance Committee).
The meeting was officially one hour, 10:00-11:00 am, at the State House in Boston. Governor Baker and Senator Rosenberg left at 11:00 am, but most of the attendees stayed for another hour of discussion.
Gov. Baker promised to get this project back on track; and has increased MBI’s team to include Peter Larkin and Bill Ennen to ideally better manage the project and expedite implementation of the newest last mile plan. Larkin will report directly to Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. Ash was in attendance but did not speak. Ennen will shift from his current position at the Innovation Institute at Mass Technology […]
WiredWest: our cooperative solution for broadband internet in western Massachusetts
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Q. When will we actually get broadband?
Q: How does MBI play into this?
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