Massachusetts Technology Collaborative tasks Axia to operate middle mile network

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has employed Canadian-based Axia NetMedia to run its $71.6 million MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network, a middle mile network effort being built to extend broadband service to underserved areas of the state.

Joining other fellow Mass-based middle mile project purveyors such as Open Cape, Greg Bialecki, Housing and Economic Development Secretary said the MTC is "leveraging new private investment that will improve the region's competitiveness, create jobs, strengthen our schools and enhance public safety."

Under the terms of the agreement with the MTC, Axia will run the network for 10 years, while state-sponsored MTC will build own and build the network.

Expected to be completed by 2013, the MTC network will deliver broadband service to more than 120 communities in both the Western and North Central segments of Massachusetts over 1,300 miles of fiber. MTC is funding the project with a $45.4 million federal broadband stimulus grant with additional $26.2 million in matching funds from the Mass state government.

Axia is not a novice in middle mile network operator. In addition to running similar networks in France, Singapore and Spain, Axia currently runs the Alberta SuperNet, a 9,320-mile next generation network which provides high-speed Internet services to 429 communities in Alberta, Canada. Since Axia launched the SuperNet, Alberta now has over 80 competitive service providers serving the area.

Given the limited choices remote Massachusetts towns have for broadband, it's likely the MTC hopes that by working with Axia they can gain similar success in fostering new broadband competition in the state.

For more:
- see the release
- The Boston Globe has this article

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