by BBC Wires @ 7:33pm | Oct 5, 2015
LEVERETT, MA — Leverett, Mass., celebrated the launch of its new LeverettNet municipal fiber-optic broadband network, a new infrastructure project that offers gigabit-level Internet connectivity to every home and business in the town. The improved broadband access will have a significant impact on the community of 1,800 located in Western Massachusetts, including easier access to medical information, the increased ability of local students to complete online homework assignments, and the added opportunity for local small business owners and entrepreneurs to reach new customers via the web.
The network is the first last-mile project built off of MassBroadband 123, the 1,200 mile fiber-optic middle mile network jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program, which connects over 1,000 public institutions in 120-plus towns in Western and Central Massachusetts, including Leverett. Recognizing the opportunity to address the digital divide in the town, Leverett’s citizens and town leaders mobilized to build off of the new fiber-optic backbone, creating the Leverett Broadband Committee and Leverett Municipal Light Plant (MLP), the entities which oversaw the approval, financing, contracting, and construction of the town-built network.
650 of 800 Leverett Households Subscribed to Leverettnet
Since the start of construction, over 650 of 800 Leverett households have taken service on the network, highlighting the strong demand for Internet connectivity in the town. Prior to the network’s launch, residents relied on non-broadband technologies such as dial-up, satellite, or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) to access the Internet, but are now served by a complete fiber-optic network capable of delivering speeds of 1 gigabit per second.
“The project has been huge for the town and mostly undertaken by our volunteer broadband committee, which met weekly for four years to make it happen,” said Peter d’Errico of the Leverett Broadband Committee. “With each phase taken a step at a time we have managed to complete something we all thought was a dream when it was first conceived. Now that it’s complete, residents are thrilled to see what they can do at home on the Internet.”
The Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI) announced $806,000 in last mile grants from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Leverett to help fund the completion of the municipal network and to connect the town’s homes and businesses. These funds include a preliminary planning grant of $40,000 in 2011 and $766,000 in new state capital funds being invested through the Last Mile Program, which were awarded in August 2015.
The LeverettNet network was constructed by Millennium Communications Group. “Make Ready” work on the poles began in the fall of 2013. Greenfield-based Crocker Communications is the Internet Service Provider for the network, managing customer signups and market research, while network operation and maintenance will be overseen by Holyoke Gas & Electric.