"Broadband reaches hilltowns with help from state’s Last Mile grant program"

The Westfield News
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Westifeld News' Amy Porter recently highlighted the impact that broadband expansion is having in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires, noting the grants from the MBI and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development through the Commonwealth's Last Mile program.

The article from December 17th noted the recent launch of the Comcast-built network in Montgomery, funded with the support of an MBI private provider grant:

“It works great,” said Julie Ruszala, chairman of the Montgomery Broadband Committee at the launch. She said her family used to have a digital subscriber line (DSL), and two people couldn’t use the internet at the same time, making it hard on her as a graduate student, with two sons in high school.

The Town of Chester received support through the MBI's Cable Expansion project, which was completed in 2018 by Comcast. The impact of that projecthas been clear to John Baldasaro, chair of the Chester Select Board, who noted:

Baldasaro said broadband has made a difference for Chester, where there were several properties that had been on the market for years, and four sold very quickly after getting broadband. “Our rate of sale has picked up dramatically.  One of the first questions (we’re asked), is do we have high-speed internet,” he said.

The piece also cites progress in the municipal fiber-to-the-home projects in Blandford and Otis, both of which received support in the form of direct grants from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Read the full piece on the Reminder Publications website.