WiredWest, a cooperative of municipal light plants (MLPs) that are authorized to finance the buildout of networks, has gained the support of 22 Western Massachusetts towns to build a fiber network that will support up to 1 Gbps broadband services.
Participating communities will offer three service tiers: $49 per month for 25 Mbps without usage caps, 100 Mbps for $79 per month, and 1 Gbps for $109 per month.
In order to fund this network buildout, 22 WiredWest communities have passed bond authorizations totaling $34.5 million for their towns' portions of costs to build a fiber-optic network.
However, WiredWest still needs to raise the remaining $44.5 million in funding, and town councils still have to approve the costs. Also, another 10 towns have not joined the group yet.
According to WiredWest, the votes have been characterized by record attendance and passage by overwhelming margins, including three unanimous town votes.
Goshen became the twentieth town, on June 29, to authorize funding with 240 voters turning out. Wired West said that the meeting had to move from town hall to the nearby Congregational Church in order to accommodate voters, which is the second meeting of a WiredWest town on the bond authorization that has had to do so.
"Our family has lived in Goshen for almost 30 years. Over that time during town meeting, we've debated the costs of a fire truck, an ambulance, several highway trucks and police cruisers, capping our dump, a new elementary school, an addition to the high school and now the construction of a regional broadband network," said WiredWest delegate Bob Labrie in a release. "Never in the history of Goshen have we had to change the venue of the meeting because so many people turned out."
Joining Goshen, Chesterfield and Heath also passed their bond authorizations. Over the next several months, a number of other towns will be voting in order to meet the deadline of June 2016 to qualify for the state's portion of funding. Given the authorizations passed so far, the state funds qualified for amounts to $18.5 million.
The WiredWest Coop said it has received over 6,700 deposits for service, representing a third of potential subscribers, and 15 towns have more than 40 percent of premises subscribed.
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