PRINCETON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today joined executives from Charter Communications, Inc., Princeton town officials and residents, state and federal officials, and executives from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at MassTech Collaborative to celebrate the impact of the town’s new Charter-constructed broadband network. During a roundtable discussion with local leaders and residents, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito heard about the impact that the increased internet connectivity is having on the community, including improvements for small business owners, public safety, and education.
Construction of the new broadband network was supported by a grant from the Commonwealth’s Last Mile grant program, an effort to deliver broadband connectivity to municipalities that were previously unserved by high-speed internet. The network, which was completed in mid-2019, delivers high-speed internet access to 1,418 premises in the town, as well as access to Charter’s suite of additional products such as Spectrum TV, home phone and mobile services.
“Since its relaunch in 2016, we have invested over $41 million through the Last Mile program in direct grants to close connectivity gaps like the one that existed in Princeton,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The impact of these critical investments to enhance high-speed internet is on display in the Town of Princeton, as businesses grow, educational opportunities are expanded and a higher quality of life is delivered for residents.”
“Our administration is proud to have helped Princeton make the leap across the digital divide, and we are excited to see the impact that this connectivity will continue to have over the coming years,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Access to high-speed internet is an integral tool for students looking to enter careers in high-demand fields and for small businesses seeking new customers, and we thank both Charter Communications for their work on this effort and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute for making this project possible.”
This week, the one unserved municipal that lacked a plan to reach broadband connectivity, New Braintree, agreed to work with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and the Last Mile program on a plan to pursue a wireless broadband solution for the town. That approval means that all 53 Last Mile communities either have a completed project, a network under construction, or a plan in place to get connected. Including Princeton, 17 of the 53 projects are now complete, delivering high-speed internet access to over 7,600 premises.
In addition to the Town of Princeton, the Commonwealth has provided funding to Charter Communications to deliver broadband connections to unserved homes and businesses in the now-completed Towns of Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and West Stockbridge, which Governor Baker highlighted during a visit in 2017. The company has also received Commonwealth grants to expand connections in Hancock, Peru, Tyringham, New Marlborough, and Sandisfield.
“We are working hard to bring the best TV, internet and voice services possible to consumers,” said Greg Garabedian, Charter Communications Area Vice President. “Charter’s network expansion in Princeton will result in over 1,400 premises gaining access to high-speed internet, including gigabit connections, broadly and rapidly for the first time, and helps address the goal of the Baker-Polito Administration to bring broadband to unserved areas of the Commonwealth.”
In July 2017, the Last Mile grant program awarded Charter a grant of $910,000 under the MBI’s Private Sector Request for Proposals, which requested proposals from qualified private-sector providers to expand connectivity in communities unserved by broadband. In 2018, the MBI awarded a follow-on Last Mile grant of $100,000 to Princeton to cover construction preparation costs incurred by the town, an award which brought the Commonwealth’s total investment in the project to over $1 million.
“Through the joint efforts of the Town, the Commonwealth, and Charter, Princeton residents are now able to take full advantage of the internet for work, education, communication, and entertainment,” said Karen Cruise, Chair of the Princeton Selectboard. “This addition to our infrastructure makes Princeton an even more desirable place to live.”
“I am pleased to celebrate this important milestone as the Town of Princeton completes their network broadband,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Ensuring access to quality and affordable broadband services for rural communities like Princeton is the kind of critical infrastructure investment that supports residents and small businesses, and I will continue to work with our state and federal delegation to find broadband solutions for all of our communities.”
“This is a great day for the Town of Princeton,” said U.S. Senator Ed Markey. “Congratulations to Selectman Chair Karen Cruise, current and past members of the Board of Selectmen, and the Broadband Committee for your years of hard work with the Commonwealth’s Broadband Institute and Charter Communications to recently complete this high speed internet service network. Broadband access is a technological necessity for all aspects of our daily lives. Whether to access the latest news, provide excellence in education, promote public safety, or enhance economic growth residents of Princeton are better off with completion of this service.”
“This is a great day for Princeton,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Reliable high-speed internet is an essential service that everyone should have access to – and while Massachusetts has come a long way, even one family without broadband access is too many. A fully-functional network in Princeton is going to ensure that every household has the tools necessary for opportunity and success. Thank you to the Baker Administration and all the state and local leaders working to expand broadband internet throughout our Commonwealth.”
“From online shopping, to Netflix, to communicating with far-away friends and family, broadband access is essential for life in the 21st century,” said Senator Harriette L. Chandler. “I am incredibly happy that the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, Charter Communications and the Town of Princeton have completed a broadband network that covers all households. This is a common-sense investment in Princeton’s future and quality of life.”
“I am delighted that the Town of Princeton’s much needed network is completed,” said Representative Kimberly Ferguson. “I wish to thank all parties involved in this partnership and applaud them for their tireless pursuit of providing these services to Princeton. We are so fortunate to have had funding available through MBI and the Private Provider Grant program, and it is an honor to participate in the celebration.”
Since 2016, the Last Mile program has invested over $41 million in direct awards to increase broadband connections in unserved and underserved communities, including grants from the MBI and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) for public/private projects, municipal-owned fiber-to-the-home networks, and advanced wireless projects. These networks deliver internet speeds at or above the FCC’s definition for high-speed broadband of 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 megabits per second for uploads.
“We’ve witnessed steady progress over the last year, which includes the completion of the Charter network in Princeton,” stated Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the MassTech Collaborative, parent organization of the MBI. “Following the solid progress in 2019, we’re on track to have 18 towns with completed projects in 2020, increasing the number of connected residents and the impact across the Last Mile program.”
“Moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach for unserved towns allowed the Last Mile program to identify solutions that work for each community and in the case of Princeton, that public process helped us identify a partner in Charter that was willing to build this network,” said Peter Larkin, Board Chair of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Last Mile project. “For small towns like Princeton, choosing that route saved critical funds that they can use to address other economic priorities and build on the high-speed internet foundation that Charter has created.”
Princeton residents interested in learning more about the new service or to place an order can contact Charter/Spectrum at 1-855-757-7328 or online at spectrum.com.
About the Massachusetts Broadband Institute
A division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) is working to extend high-speed Internet access to homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices, and other public places across the Commonwealth. Learn more at https://broadband.masstech.org.
Spectrum is a suite of advanced broadband services offered by Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States. Spectrum provides a full range of services, including Spectrum TV®, Spectrum Internet®, Spectrum Voice®, and Spectrum Mobile™. Spectrum Business® similarly provides scalable, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to small and medium sized business organizations, including Internet access, business telephone, and TV services. Spectrum Enterprise is a national provider of scalable, fiber-based technology solutions serving many of America's largest businesses and communications service providers. Charter's advertising sales and production services are sold under the Spectrum Reach® brand. Charter's news and sports networks are operated under the Spectrum Networks brand. More information about Spectrum can be found at spectrum.com.