MassBroadband 123 “Middle Mile” Network Construction Nearing Completion

Monday, August 5, 2013

Updated Schedule Provides Town-by-Town Status Tracker with Key Milestones

WESTBOROUGH – The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has announced an updated project schedule with final milestone tracking for communities within the MassBroadband 123 network, which is targeted for completion in late 2013. MassBroadband 123 is a 1,200-mile fiber-optic network that will bring high-speed Internet access directly to over 1,200 key facilities in more than 120 western and central Massachusetts communities.

The first segment of the network is currently live, with additional segments coming online this fall, including those that feed directly into the Springfield interconnection point, which is operational. The majority of segments will come online toward the end of 2013, in order to reflect critical feedback provided collaboratively by G4S, the design-builder of the network; Tilson, the Owners Project Manager; and Axia NGNetworks USA, the network operator.   Instead of testing and handing over the network to Axia in small increments, segments will be tested when ready, but will not be fully activated for live traffic until all adjacent sections are ready. That change is being made to prevent any technical issues that could happen during testing, and will ensure the overall quality of the network upon turnover to Axia.

The schedule lays out the major project milestones such as completion of fiber construction and network interconnection points; status updates on the community anchor institutions by town; and target completion dates by town. The target completion dates mark when the network operator, AXIA, can begin working with internet service providers to connect the key facilities in the regional MassBroadband 123 network. 

“The completion of MassBroadband 123 will provide the essential middle-mile backbone for Western and Central Massachusetts,” stated Judy Dumont, director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech. “While the end of this current phase is in sight, our work is far from over. It’s critical that we meet our deadlines, but also to build a network that is secure, tested, and has the required redundancy that will prevent interruptions in service. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to date and wanted to use this schedule to update the region as to where we stand, and provide some new detail about the final steps in this all-important process.”

“The evaluation and testing completed on the MassBroadband 123 network will help ensure its long-term, successful performance,” states Tim Scott, Vice President Business Development, Axia NGNetworks USA. “As the project manager, MBI has worked with us and other partners to make these critical decisions using the best information available. Once we’ve accepted the finished network, Axia’s goal is to provide the best network performance to our internet provider customers and ultimately end users across the region.  The rigorous testing and phased deployment of the network is a critical step toward that goal.”

The updated schedule can be found via the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s website and will be updated regularly to track progress. The schedule provides individual completion status tracking for four key milestones, including:

  • Scheduled for Operations: the estimated or actual date when all the required network infrastructure for a municipality is tested and ready for handover to the Network Operator (AXIA);
  • Fiber Installation Status: The stages of the project for the installation of the fiber optic cables.  Stages include Construction, Testing, Review, Final Review and Operational;
  • Network Interconnection Point Status: The stages of the project for the construction and electronics installation of the regional connection and transmission points of the network.  Stages include Construction, Testing, Review, Final Review and Operational; &
  • Community Anchor Institution Connections:  The number of facilities that have been constructed, tested and reviewed compared to the total number of facilities to be connected for each community.

“This network will be an asset for this region for decades to come,” notes Linda Dunlavy, Executive Director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. “MassBroadband 123 will help communities in Western and Central Massachusetts compete in the 21st Century economy and will deliver world class educational resources to libraries and schools across the region, as well as increased connectivity for public safety offices. Without the MassBroadband 123 network the delivery of high-speed broadband to citizens – a critical mission of the Mass Broadband Institute - would never be possible. It’s important to not lose sight of that important fact.”