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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development awarded the Town of Ashfield $1,410,000 as part of the Last Mile Infrastructure Grant Program for Municipally-owned Broadband Network. This grant award is intended to be used by rural communities for the design, engineering, and construction of publicly-owned broadband networks.
As one of the broadband grant award recipients, the Town of Ashfield intends to construct a municipally-owned fiber optic broadband network available to all residents. The network will initially provide speeds up to 1 Gb/s. Ashfield is partnering with Westfield Gas & Electric to provide support during design & engineering and construction. The network will be operated by the Ashfield Municipal Light Plant, which will contract with Network Operations and Internet Service Provider vendors.
Today, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito held a roundtable discussion in Ashfield that included a number of local last mile communities. Each community provided Lieutenant Governor Polito with a broadband status update. After hearing from everyone, Polito said, “It is a lot of work, and I appreciate all of you who serve in local government. The outcome will be even more profound, and the impact it will have on the residents and those who work in this community will be a factor that will improve the quality of life here for years to come.”
The Town of Ashfield received the first installment in the amount of $640,000.00, which will be used for professional services associated with the creation of a broadband network. The Town of Ashfield has selected Westfield Gas & Electric to facilitate this aspect of the project.
Broadband has been a unifying issue for many last mile communities and residents are eager and grateful that broadband will become a reality