Thirty-two of WiredWest’s member towns are working to create a regional fiber broadband network to deliver high-speed internet, digital phone, TV and other services to homes and businesses. The network, estimated to cost $79 million, will be constructed by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which will contribute about 40% of the funding for the network and oversee its construction. WiredWest will own and operate it on behalf of the towns, which are being asked to contribute the majority of the necessary funds.
WiredWest is run by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives from member towns. Our communities are being asked to make a major financial commitment. Working through the cooperative structure of WiredWest, they will have oversight on how the network is built and control of its operations going forward.
Financial planning for the network has been extensive and thorough. WiredWest has worked with consultants and operating fiber networks to build and vet its financial plan. Additionally, nationally-recognized experts consulting to MBI have contributed to the financial modeling, and results indicate that the network can not only sustain itself, but in time may well generate enough revenues to pay back the town contributions in part or whole.
WiredWest is launching a major campaign in March to secure town commitments for the project. To qualify as a “Fiber Town” on the network, 40% of a town’s households must sign-up for service and make a small refundable deposit. This is to assure that the network will be viable in that town. Then at town meeting authorization for the town’s share of the financing must be approved by a 2/3 vote. MBI will, as soon as this summer, begin the construction process in towns that qualify.