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Baker-Polito Administration Awards $770,000 Last Mile Grant to Expand Broadband Connectivity in Goshen

posted Oct 9, 2017, 8:33 AM by Goshen Webmaster
The following Press Release was received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development on Thursday, October 5, 2017.
Baker-Polito Administration Awards $770,000 Last Mile Grant to Expand Broadband Connectivity in Goshen
GOSHEN, MA – The Baker-Polito Administration’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has awarded the Town of Goshen a $770,000 Last Mile Infrastructure grant to design, engineer and construct a municipally-owned, broadband network. This grant will enable the town, in partnership with Westfield Gas and Electric, to bring broadband connectivity to at least 96 percent of homes and businesses.
“Expanding broadband connectivity in towns like Goshen is important to meeting the demands and needs of local businesses, residents, students and families, while providing opportunities to succeed and grow,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We continue to prioritize advancing the Last Mile program and working with our municipalities to reach their connectivity goals.”
This Last Mile grant enables Goshen to bring broadband connectivity to a community which currently has no commercial broadband offering with a minimum speed of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.
“We are proud to partner with municipal leaders in Goshen and other Last Mile towns to increase the access their residents and businesses have to commercial high-speed internet,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These vital connections improve opportunities for local economic growth and education.”
This award is part of $20 million in capital funds made directly available to the Last Mile towns. To date, The Last Mile program has been able to help 12,000 homes across 21 towns with almost $18 million in grants.
“The progress we have made since last May has been tremendous thanks to this administration’s commitment to close the connectivity gap and willingness of each of the towns to pursue pathways that best meet their needs,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. “There is more work to be done with Last Mile towns to close the connectivity gap and we look forward to the day when we announce the last, Last Mile town has reached its broadband goal.”
In May 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration introduced a new Last Mile leadership team and a new framework to accelerate implementation of broadband projects in unserved or underserved communities through a more flexible, community-based approach. Since then, the Baker-Polito Administration has supported efforts to expand broadband coverage to nine partially served towns, and approved grants to bring service to 28 of the 41 unserved towns. The Administration continues to assist and is fully committed to finding a pathways to state support for each of the remaining communities.
"It is an absolute priority to get each town on a clear path to full broadband connectivity,” said Senator Adam G. Hinds. “Today’s award to Goshen insures yet another rural community in western Massachusetts can overcome the digital divide. I applaud the community leaders who have devoted countless hours to get to this point, and appreciate the support of the Baker-Polito Administration, the MBI and Westfield Gas and Electric which helped Goshen finalize its dream of designing, engineering and constructing a municipally-owned, state-of-the-art, broadband network.”
Goshen will be working with a private sector partner to design, build, own and operate a fiber-to-the home (FFTH) broadband network. The community has committed to at least 96percent coverage with broadband speeds which well exceed the Federal Communication Commission’s definition of broadband over a network which will be futureproof with respect to the demand for broadband speed. The design and operation of this network is premised on the remarkable success of LeverettNet which is fully operational and exceeding all expectations.
“The citizens of Goshen have worked very hard to make their goal of a town-owned fiber broadband network a reality, and I am very pleased that they are receiving their full state funding allocation to move the project forward.,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. “Goshen will make the most of its high-speed broadband system to enhance economic, educational, civic, and social activities of the community, ensuring that a small rural town will have the same opportunities in the future that other parts of the Commonwealth do. I congratulate Goshen on its efforts, and look forward to successful completion of the project.”
Goshen applied to EOHED’s “Last Mile Infrastructure Grant Program for a Municipally-owned Broadband Network” which is modeled on the MassWorks grant program. This program is only available to Last Mile towns where the value of the award has been pre-determined and published by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.
The program is modeled on EOHED’s successful MassWorks Infrastructure Program, a flexible, competitive grant program that funds local infrastructure projects that unlock economic growth. In addition, EOHED and the MBI will continue to assist municipalities that wish to partner with private broadband providers, or explore alternative solutions.