WesternMA Connect, Inc. July 2010 Broadband Update
MBI Application Successful!
On July 2, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick and members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation announced that the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) had been awarded $45.4 million of federal ARRA funds. These funds will be used to construct over 1,100 miles of fiber-optic middle-mile infrastructure in western and north central Massachusetts. The award was formally announced at a ceremony held on July 8 at Greenfield Community College. Event attendees included U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Senator John Kerry, Governor Patrick, and Congressmen Richard Neal and John Olver. Both Senator Kerry and Congressman Olver recognized Connect for its decade-long support for the creation of an advanced telecommunications landscape throughout the region. All speakers made reference to the many letters received in support of the application. Your compelling stories definitely impacted the application outcome. Thank you to everyone who submitted letters and congratulations to the MBI!
What Does This Mean For You?
In 2008, Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Legislature established the MBI with the mission to extend affordable high-speed Internet access to ALL residential, commercial and public places across the Commonwealth. This new federal award will be combined with the $26 million of state funding already in place to make this a reality. Internet service providers have stated that once the MBI's network is complete, it will become more cost effective for them to bring high-speed Internet access to those who currently have none.
In the coming months, the MBI will continue to be very busy designing and engineering the network, negotiating access to state-owned assets, forming partnerships to support network deployment, and encouraging the telecommunications industry to be prepared to provide services and invest in the region. Meanwhile, the MBI has contracted with Connect to work collaboratively with regional planning agencies, local municipalities, and other organizations to ensure that this network is constructed as quickly, cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. Under the terms of the federal grant, two-thirds of the project must be built by 2012 and the network completed in 2013. This is a huge undertaking. Although you may not visually see progress right away, be assured that the MBI and many others are working diligently to meet the federal timeline and requirements set.
How Can You Help?
If you have not already done so, please visit http://www.massbroadband.org/mapping/survey.html and complete the online survey. Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. This information will assist the MBI in its effort to more accurately map where broadband does and does not exist. If you are an elected official or local department head, please respond to outreach conducted by the MBI and Connect. This network cannot succeed without your participation!