WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities Forms to Build a Fiber Optic Network
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CitationTalbot, David, Waide Warner, Susan Crawford. 2016. WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities Forms to Build a Fiber Optic Network. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
AbstractThis report describes WiredWest, a cooperative formed by towns in rural western Massachusetts. WiredWest has put forward a detailed proposal to provide “last-mile” high-speed Internet access connections to homes and businesses in a region policymakers have long lamented suffers from poor Internet access. On behalf of its member towns, WiredWest plans to operate and provide services over a state-of-the-art fiber optic network in these chronically underserved communities. WiredWest has taken a regional approach to spread risk and achieve economies of scale. Thirty-one towns passed Select Board resolutions declaring their intent to participate in a cooperative network with WiredWest. Under the plan, they will pay about two-thirds of the network’s costs; so far 24 of them have authorized borrowing a total of $38 million. To cover remaining costs, they will need to receive a portion of $50 million already authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to subsidize high-speed Internet access in the region. The state agency responsible for disbursing the funds, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), recently tabled any decision on the project. The administration of Gov. Charlie Baker subsequently asked MBI to “develop policies to ensure that it is reviewing and analyzing all options” for making lastmile grants. WiredWest’s future hangs in the balance.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:28552571