In response to our lobbying effort, the State is now offering grants for the full amount of funds allocated, including the professional services portion that had previously been reserved for MBI, to towns wishing to manage building their own broadband networks. The grant process will be managed by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED). Grants will be processed as submitted on a rolling basis. They are attempting a two week turnaround once the application is complete. Though others may review, the decision to award rests solely with Sec. Jay Ash and Deputy Sec. Carolyn Kirk. The overall sequence looks like:
- Application ( to start the process, go to Last Mile Infrastructure Grant Program )
- Award notification
- Pre-contract (MassWorks form –info derived from application and verified with applicant)
- Contract (MassWorks form – standard in Massachusetts for towns who receive MassWorks grants)
The proposed disbursement schedule still under consideration is:
- 100% of the “Professional Services” allocation upon execution of the contract
- 60% of the “Construction” allocation upon submission of Licensee’s Pole Attachment Application
- 35% of the “Construction” allocation upon signing of construction contract
- 5% of the “Construction” allocation upon demonstration that at least 10 paying customers are receiving services
- Funds are payments made to the town only – no exceptions
Bill Ennen’s advice about filling out the application:
- The reviewers will need to specifically test whether applicants answered the questions in “Section II”. It will be helpful if you follow that sequence specifically or if you can associate your answers directly with those questions as this will save time in the review process. You are welcome to reference attachments in your answer as long as it will be relatively easy for the reviewer to find the referenced item.
- I welcome you to attach your “readiness” submission to application.
- Awards will be made only to the town (not the MLP) so that last page needs to from the person in town who is authorized to submit on behalf of the town.
- If I find gaps or missing elements I’ll be checking back with you. I think it would be best if recipients contact me individually either via email or the phone – whatever works for you.
Our comments / suggestions about some of the application form questions.
- Fiber – Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) with dedicated strands (ie home runs) from the hub to each premise.
- 100% premise passing to curb including seasonal properties. (MBI specs called for at least 96%)
- drops to all premises that request it – may limit to pre-subscribers if necessary (your town’s policy may vary. If your budget is short, you might ask subscribers to pay something for their drops.)
- Data and Voice service. 1Gbps will be available as an option. Starting tier of 25Mbps.
- We will be part of the WiredWest regional network with connections to at least two different sources of bandwidth for reliability if possible. Redundancy with ERPS will provide fault tolerant operation.
- Hut at (choose a place where your town has backup power available). Probably locate a stand-alone outside the building to provide access for repairs during non-business hours.
- ONT’s will be indoor possibly with routers.
- (The Town) will make our OSP “fiber rich” with the standard recommended percentage of spare fibers to be between 50% or more. Spare fibers will be dedicated for possible use by emergency services and future homes or subdivisions and regional connection.