The Board of Directors of WiredWest, at its meeting on December 19th, voted unanimously to appoint a select group of representatives from its member towns to negotiate with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) to resolve differences between the organizations’ plans for last-mile broadband deployment in WiredWest towns.

MBI issued a statement on December 1st saying it would deny funding to WiredWest for the project to bring high-speed internet to people in western Massachusetts currently lacking such service. WiredWest responded with a detailed rebuttal, drawing on the organization’s comprehensive plans to bring broadband to its members. Responding to the controversy caused by these actions, the Board of Directors of MBI directed its staff to work with WiredWest to seek to bridge those differences, and then for the two organizations to come back before the Board in a joint presentation.

Last week, several WiredWest Executive Committee members participated in a meeting hosted by MBI in Westborough, and it was agreed that the two organizations would address the specific issues of contention in breakout committees on finance and governance, with meetings in the very near future. WiredWest is also asking for a committee on technology, to work closely with MBI on network design, to ensure operational efficiencies are taken into account.

Monica Webb, Chair of WiredWest, said: “I am confident that with genuine, open-minded collaboration, the two groups can resolve our differences in last-mile plans, and get the process of bringing desperately-needed broadband to the unserved back on track. We are all vested in the expeditious achievement of that goal.”