‘Last mile’ of Internet lit up in Leverett

The western Massachusetts town of Leverett has finished work on a municipal Internet service capable of delivering high-speed data to every citizen’s home.

“It’s unquestionable that the people of Leverett have as fine a residential broadband service as anywhere in the commonwealth,” said Eric Nakajima, director of the state-sponsored Massachusetts Broadband Institute.

Leverett has connected its citizens to MassBroadband 123, a 1,200-mile fiber-optic backbone network jointly funded by the state and the federal government. Completed early last year, MassBroadband 123 is designed to bring fast Internet service to about 120 underserved communities in west Massachusetts. But this backbone network isn’t enough to get citizens online. Each community must also construct a “last mile” network that run between the backbone and individual buildings. Leverett is the first to complete the process.

Residents pay $95 per month for Internet speeds up to one gigabit, or 1,000 megabits, per second, and for telephone service. By contrast, Comcast Corp., which serves Boston and other eastern Massachusetts communities, charges $78.95 a month for 150-megabit Internet service, not including phone service. About 650 of Leverett’s 800 households have subscribed.

The network is owned by the town and paid for through property taxes. Crocker Communications of Greenfield has contracted with the town to manage the last mile network.

Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe. Email him at h_bray@globe.com.
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