Our Current Focus
We have joined 38 other towns in Western Mass
Go to Wired West to find out the most current information on fiber to the home.
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Where we started:
When the 11 towns banded together to form the SBTC, our mission then – which is still true today – was to expedite the deployment of modern broadband (high-speed internet) infrastructure to our local communities. However at that time, we believed the most expedient route to accomplish that was to work closely with the Commonwealth, which had allocated a $40 Million bond and created an agency called The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) to oversee the buildout of broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities, primarily in Western Massachusetts.
Much has happened since that time, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $7.2 billion in grants and loans towards broadband and related services. The MBI has applied for $105 Million of ARRA funds and has received a small amount for mapping and early planning, but is waiting to hear about the rest of the funds. In the meantime, The MBI is using state broadband funds to complete a fiber backbone to serve our region on I-91; and has provided us with a better understanding of the strategy and extent of buildout plans for the network "middle mile." As a result, our focus has become more defined. We will continue to work with the Commonwealth, and believe the new MBI leadership is cognoscente of the important role played by towns in making the infrastructure plan happen. However, our committee is focusing our efforts on how “last-mile” infrastructure (from the town centers to individual homes and businesses) will be built and managed, and on critical early planning efforts to ensure it happens as quickly as possible. Our goal is for our businesses, citizens, services and governments to have future-proof, high-speed, affordable internet access, and we believe we must take a more proactive role to make that happen.
This means we are exploring all options open to us, including working more closely with the Commonwealth; leveraging assistance from existing Berkshire County organizations; working with groups in neighboring counties; working with potential broadband providers; and working with engineers, all to determine the best plan for our region to serve the best interests of our citizens.