Learn more about MBI's past broadband planning, infrastructure, mapping, adoption, funding, and grant programs.
Launched in January 2021, the Mass Internet Connect (MIC) program assisted unemployed job seekers working with MassHire that faced one or more technology barriers, including accessing or using a computer or the internet.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MBI and MassBroadband 123 network operator Local Linx worked with local ISPs to offer indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots to 26 unserved municipalities that lacked broadband access.
In September 2018, MBI celebrated the completion of cable line extensions in 9 towns that were partially served by Comcast, bringing the broadband coverage in each town to at least 96% and up to 99% of homes and businesses.
MassVetsAdvisor.org, launched in 2012, is the result of a collaboration between the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS), the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. Development of the site was funded through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Initiative program. In 2016, DVS took ownership of and responsibility for maintaining the site.
In November 2014, MBI completed an $800,000 grant program with the state's Community Development Corporations (CDC). Four CDCs across the Commonwealth provided technical assistance and resources to 77 small businesses and/or nonprofits within their respective regions.
In early 2014, MBI completed construction of MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network. The network extends approximately 1,200 miles, connecting over 120 communities in western and north central Massachusetts to high-speed Internet. The project was funded by $45.4 million in federal stimulus grant funds through the Broadband Technology Program (BTOP) and $44.3 million in matching Commonwealth funds from MBI, MA Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and MA Information Technology Division.
As part of a national program called the State Broadband Initiative (SBI), the MBI collected and mapped broadband services available across the state by provider, transmission technology, and speed.
The MBI provided OpenCape with $5 million in funds to construct a comprehensive middle mile network. The network was completed in 2013, providing broadband access throughout Cape Cod, the Islands and the South Coast.
In 2012, MBI completed a program that issued $335,000 in competitive grant awards to advance last mile solutions and expand broadband connectivity through the planning and deployment of new high-speed Internet access in underserved areas in western and north central Massachusetts.
Funding and Legislation
Broadband Legislation Preparing the Commonwealth for Access to Federal Stimulus Funds
BOSTON – Thursday, July 16, 2009 – As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick has signed legislation to help leverage federal economic recovery funds to boost broadband services throughout Massachusetts.
In January 2009, the United States Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). ARRA included $7 billion in funding for broadband initiatives. Two of these initiatives were the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) housed at the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the Broadband Improvement Program (BIP) administered by the Rural Utility Service (RUS). Ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable, high-speed broadband Internet is considered essential to the economic vitality of the United States. The effort to expand broadband infrastructure is often compared with earlier efforts to build the country’s electric grid and interstate highway system.
Together the BTOP and BIP will increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits across the United States and its territories.
Additionally, ARRA funded the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) program at the NTIA with $300 million. The principal mission of SBI is to fund the development of data sets and mapping of broadband infrastructure and availability in all 50 US states and six territories. This information has been collected by the NTIA and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and assembled into the first National Broadband Map.
Governor Deval Patrick created the Massachusetts Broadband Institute when he signed the Broadband Act on August 4, 2008. Chapter 231 of the Acts of 2008 established MBI as a new division within the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The legislation provides up to $40 million bonding authorization to close broadband gaps.
Funding features include:
- Approach: public-private partnership with a co-investment model
- Public bonds fund long-lived infrastructure (e.g. fiber or wireless towers)
- Private partners fund complementary infrastructure and provide service
- Private partners may leverage additional federal funds, e.g. RUS
- Level of funding assumes a regional approach
- Greater economies of scale than town-at-a-time
Provides for more detailed assessment of who is un-served
Facilitates the use of existing state assets for broadband deployment to the public