Leverett, Mass., to build its own FTTH network

Leverett, Mass., a rural town located in the western part of the state, is taking broadband matters into its own hands with a plan to bring fiber-based services to residents.

According to a report in the Valley Advocate, the town's local telco and electrical providers Verizon and Western Mass. Electric are preparing the utility poles to be equipped with fiber cables so Millennium Communications of New Jersey, the project's contractor, can begin building the network.

However, Leverett's cable committee is seeking a separate contractor to build two sites to house associated network equipment.

"We're in the design and site preparation phase for the two small buildings that will hold the network equipment," said Peter d'Errico, a retired UMass legal studies professor who lives in Leverett and is a member of the town's cable committee. "We have to put that out for bid. At one site there has to be some Conservation Commission oversight because it's near a wetland, but that will be fairly simple, and the construction will shortly be put out for bid."

Given the rural and challenging topography, delivering broadband to Leverett has always been a challenge. While Verizon (NYSE: VZ) began offering DSL service in 2008, residents said it did not work well nor did it reach every household. Not surprisingly, the lack of broadband made people think twice about purchasing a home there, while police officers could not conduct daily activities like looking up drivers' licenses records.

When it completes its FTTH network, Leverett could also benefit from the MassBroadband 123 program, which has built out a complementary middle-mile network serving 123 communities in western and north central Massachusetts.

The move comes at a time when opposition to municipalities building their own broadband networks is growing. Although Massachusetts currently does not have such a law, another 20 states have either developed laws that either bar or discourage municipalities from building their own networks.

For more:
- Valley Advocate has this article

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