New approach to high-speed internet accessibility efforts in Western Massachusetts will empower communities
Boston – Tuesday, May 10, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration met with municipal broadband leaders from across Western Massachusetts today to discuss a new framework for evaluating and advancing Last Mile Broadband projects in communities unserved or underserved by high-speed internet access. The dialogue centered on a flexible, responsive and community-based approach to prioritizing affordable and sustainable solutions to the broadband service challenges facing the Commonwealth’s 44 Last Mile communities.
“We recognize there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing broadband service gaps, and look forward to our new leadership team’s efforts to empower community design for operational, financing and technology models best suiting the unique local needs of communities in Western Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
The Baker-Polito Administration’s new Last Mile project framework sets baseline performance standards for successful Last Mile projects, and empowers communities to develop a range of finance, operation and technology models for connecting residents to broadband service that meet performance standards.
“We are committed to close collaboration with these communities and fostering openness, engagement and problem-solving to address Last Mile challenges,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
“This new Last Mile framework emphasizes collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Our recent deep-dive assessment of the Last Mile project revealed many financial, legal, technical, and operational challenges. These challenges require flexibility, and a focus on results.”
The Administration’s new leadership team for the Last Mile project, Peter J. Larkin and Bill Ennen, will engage directly with municipalities to develop Last Mile opportunities that unlock reliable, sustainable, and affordable broadband access options. Larkin serves as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, and chairman of the board of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Ennen serves as the Administration’s Last Mile Implementation Liaison.