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 about distributed ownership of the network in the larger WiredWest cooperative model. To the contrary, for a large cooperative, we see substantial benefits arising from the shared ownership model in terms of construction and operational efficiencies and in the cost efficiencies that accrue from the distribution of maintenance risk over a significantly larger enterprise. In addition, the stability that shared ownership brings is critical to the long term viability of the cooperative business model.

We will continue to seriously evaluate all proposals until such time as a commitment by our towns is appropriate (soon we hope!). We look forward to working with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) on the ‘last mile’ construction and we urge MBI and all unserved communities to evaluate alternative models as critically as they evaluate the WiredWest model: a large number of towns coming together to form a mutually-committed, stable, and efficient system for delivering high speed broadband access to rural Western Massachusetts.
Shutesbury Broadband Committee
New Salem Broadband Committee