On Tuesday, July 29th, The Massachusetts House and Senate both voted in favor of passing the IT Bond Bill, which contained $50 million in funding to support the build out of last-mile broadband service in unserved areas of the Commonwealth. The following day, the bill was enacted by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for his signature.

WiredWest is very pleased that the State Legislature has passed this bill with half of the funding required to create a robust regional last-mile network in the unserved areas of our region. We are grateful for the actions of our legislative delegation, and look forward to the bill being signed by Governor Patrick, who originally introduced it.  High-speed internet access is critical to educational opportunity, economic growth, the health and well-being of our citizens, and the overall quality of life in our region.

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But another $50 million will still be necessary to complete the last-mile project and make broadband a reality for our region’s unserved towns.  As a municipal cooperative, WiredWest has been designated by our member towns as the entity to build and operate a last-mile fiber-optic network in their communities.  Toward that end we have been working with town officials on a plan to bridge that funding gap by using their borrowing authority to support the issuance of a WiredWest bond.  With the funding match from the state bond bill, towns will have a unique opportunity to support the deployment of long-lived telecommunications infrastructure as a foundation for their future viability.

Securing local financial participation will not be an easy task.  Close cooperation between WiredWest, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, elected officials and our citizens will be absolutely essential.  Many of our town Select Boards recently wrote the acting director of MBI urging that his organization work through WiredWest on behalf of their towns.  We are ready to move forward and eager to work with all the parties to bring long-awaited high-speed broadband and its benefits to WiredWest member towns.