Mass. governor dedicates $10M to extend last mile broadband to 45 rural communities

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is dedicating $10 million in the state's fiscal 2014 capital plan to enhance residential broadband connectivity in the western part of the state, reports the Berkshire Eagle.

His program targets the state's 45 most unserved and underserved communities, including 19 that are located in Berkshire County.

"High-speed broadband today is as essential [a part] of infrastructure as a safe road and a reliable bridge," Patrick told the Eagle. "It's an educational necessity, a medical necessity, a municipal necessity, a business necessity, a competitive necessity."

A number of Berkshire communities were connected to a new middle mile network that was spearheaded by the state's MassBroadband 123 project. This part of the project will provide connections for state and local government agencies, public safety, libraries, schools and hospitals.

Under Patrick's plan, the state will own part of the network and will lease it on an open access basis to local ISPs and telcos.

"This is not about the state doing a favor or giving a grant to the private sector," Patrick said.

For more:
- The Berkshire Eagle has this article

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