In a recent article in the The Recorder, “Wendell Eyes WiredWest Alternatives,” it was implied that Shutesbury and New Salem are looking at ways to build a (small) regional network. While our broadband committees are continuously evaluating all options as a part of appropriate due diligence on this critical issue, we do not at this time see any benefits to forming small regional networks. We have recently met with representatives from Wendell (and a local internet service provider) and are not convinced that the business model presents the economy and the stability that is essential in such an investment by our towns. Similarly, the article suggested that we are concerned […]
WiredWest continues to actively develop its plans in coordination with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI). WiredWest will continue to push hard on behalf of and in concert with our towns and citizens for this desperately needed project to move forward. Every household, business, organization and town without access to high-speed Internet access is suffering today, and robust, affordable and universally available broadband for our communities must remain a priority.
The WiredWest Negotiating Committee has worked successfully to build open lines of communication with the MBI over the last two months and have had numerous productive meetings. As the MBI works with the Baker administration, the WiredWest team continues the exhaustive due […]
Governor Baker and Administration Leaders, MBI, and the Western Mass Legislative Delegation Meet with Unserved Town Leaders
May 10 meeting between Western Mass Town Broadband representatives and the Governor
Governor Baker, Lt Gov 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).
Our legislative delegation was in attendance: Stan Rosenberg, Ben Downing, Steve Kulik, Smitty Pignatelli, and Paul Mark.
Invited local reps: Toby Gould (Charlemont), Kimberly Longey (Plainfield), Charley Rose (Worthington), Michael DeChiara (Shutesbury), Doug Tanner (Wendell), Steve Harris (Middlefield), Thomas Powers (Leverett), Joe Boudreau (Worthington).
The meeting was officially one hour long, 10:00-11:00 am at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Governor Baker and Senator Rosenberg left promptly at 11:00, most of the attendees stayed for another hour.
We know that the Governor has publicly promised to get this project back on track; and to that end, he increased MBI’s team to include Peter Larkin and Bill Ennen. They will now manage the project and expedite implementation of the newest last mile plan. Larkin and Ennen will report directly to Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. Ash was in attendance but did not speak.
Governor Baker introduced Peter Larkin, who presented a powerpoint of the Governor’s plan.
In the meeting, WiredWest representatives emphasized 1) town choice/self determination: we need to be […]
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 meetings with attendance busting standing-room-only votes to bring broadband to our communities. 24 WiredWest towns passed their funding authorizations in April, May and early June, approving $38 million to bring broadband to their towns. The mood was near euphoric. The 7 remaining WiredWest towns eligible for funding were looking forward to their town votes to join the regional project. Broadband was in our future. Finally! Detailed engineering planning and pre-construction surveys were projected to begin in a matter of months!
“Then,” said nationally recognized telecommunications policy expert, Susan Crawford, “the wheels fell off the bus.” And now, a year later, there has been no progress and all funding is currently frozen. The government agency the MBI, in charge overseeing the statewide initiative, providing 1/3 of the funding, and managing network build, has accomplished absolutly nothing.
What the hell happened?
Hundreds of town employees and volunteers across the Western Massachusetts—we […]
WiredWest: our cooperative solution for broadband internet in western Massachusetts
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