by Susan Crawford. Reprinted from BackChannel. Read the original article.
It may be the governor. In the State House. With the lobbyists.
This is the story of a dramatic failure of imagination and vision at the state level: Governor Charlie Baker’s apparent insistence that Massachusetts relegate small towns to second-rate, high-priced, monopoly-controlled (and unregulated) communications capacity. It’s a slow-rolling tragedy that will blight Western MA for generations. The likely outcome: Only those plucky, scrappy towns that elect to build on their own will escape the grip of unconstrained pricing for awful service.
The rest will fade into irrelevance.
What new American generations will stay in a place that is essentially unconnected to […]
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University is a public policy institute whose mission is to explore and understand cyberspace. Read the Center’s just-released long-researched case study on WiredWest.
WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities Forms to Build a Fiber Optic Network. Western Massachusetts Towns Create a New Model for Last-Mile Connectivity, but a State Agency Delays Approval and Funding plus link to the study
Wiredwest Releases Analysis Showing Significant Cost Advantage Of A Regional Fiber Network Over Stand-Alone Town Networks
It recently became clear that a rational, data driven analysis comparing the financial impacts of regionalization with towns going it alone was needed for all involved. Only with such a comparison could towns make informed, eyes wide open, decisions on how best to proceed with bringing broadband to their citizens. And this data will assist our elected and appointed leaders in their effort to weigh the pros and cons of the range of solutions to bridge our digital divide. This analysis is now complete and provides an in-depth financial comparison of a regional broadband network model to a standalone model. It includes an […]
Tim Newman (WiredWest Spokesperson and Delegate from New Marlborough) and Bob Labrie (WiredWest Executive Committee, Treasurer and Delegate from Goshen) are interviewed for this piece that showcases the efforts small towns are making to bring high speed internet to rural America.
Click here for a link to the story and accompanying transcript.
While cable companies provide internet services for the majority of Americans in urban areas, many rural residents have been left on the dark side of the digital divide. According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission, 34 million Americans lack access to high speed Internet — 23 million of them […]
With the start of the new year, we want to thank your supporters and share with you our new plans for moving forward in 2017.
As you may know, in late 2015 Governor Baker placed a ‘pause’ on all state Last Mile Broadband projects. In May 2016 the Baker Administration lifted the ‘pause’ and named a new team to lead the effort. Since that time, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI, the state agency charged with broadband development to unserved towns) has been working to build individual town-owned and run networks through a newly-created Town Readiness process.
Our original plan, which was supported by MBI when you signed up for service, called for the WiredWest cooperative to own and operate a regional network on behalf of our member towns. MBI has since changed its policy and now insists that each town own its network infrastructure individually.
Since our inception in 2010, our vision has always been to work together on a regional basis to provide a cost-effective and sustainable fiber optic network bringing affordable broadband service to everyone. To comply with MBI policy, WiredWest has developed a new Regional Broadband Solution that will link individual town networks into a regional one by partnering with an experienced broadband provider to deliver services, and to operate and maintain the network on a regional basis. Efficiencies of this network allow it to be operated with significant savings and with other advantages over independent town-run networks.
WiredWest is finalizing a plan with Town Delegates and will be […]
MBI was initially funded and created by emergency legistlation in 2008 with a mandate to bring broadband internet service to all 45 unserved communities. Instead, they spent $80M building the MB123 middle mile to 123 communities which they claimed would attract private companies to finish the last mile. It never did and now is a hindrance to a regional last mile network. With the second round of funding in 2014, they first said they would build a regional network that WiredWest would own and operate, then a year later they reversed and wanted each town to build and own it’s own network, now they want private partnerships. With all uncertainty about policy, towns and companies cannot make progress.
The recent Municipal Modernization act requires that priority be given to regionalization. Experts who have looked at this, e.g. the Harvard University Berkman Institute’s Case Study of WiredWest, the CTC report, even MBI’s own technical staff, have all recommended a regional approach as the most efficient and cost-effective way to make broadband available to the most communities.
Yet, despite all this, MBI resists this and encourages towns to either accept having their allotment of state funds spent on a network owned by an unregulated monopoly private company, or else to build and operate an independent network. Some of their policies impede regionalization. For example, they require each town to individually connect and utilize the MB123. This negates many of the advantages of a regional network. MBI has refused multiple offers by WiredWest to work on […]
WiredWest: our cooperative solution for broadband internet in western Massachusetts
Get the Answers
Q. When will we actually get broadband?
Q. Will subscribers have to keep their Verizon phone service to get WiredWest’s broadband service?
Q. Who controls the subscriber rates?
Q: How does MBI play into this?