FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates Completion of Montgomery Broadband Network
New Comcast Network Delivers High-Speed Internet Access to 373 Households
MONTGOMERY, MASS. – Leaders from the MassTech Collaborative and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI) joined citizens from Montgomery and executives from Comcast today to celebrate the official launch of the town’s new broadband network, a project constructed by Comcast with support from the Commonwealth’s Last Mile grant program.
During the event at Montgomery Town Hall, Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the MassTech Collaborative, and Peter Larkin, chair of the MBI’s board of directors, heard from town officials and a local student who highlighted the changes the new connectivity will have on home-based learning, on small businesses, and in driving economic growth in the town. Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito have prioritized delivering broadband internet to residents of every city and town, recognizing that access to a high-speed internet connection is critical for the success of families, businesses and communities.
“We’re excited to see another community gain access to this vital infrastructure, moving us closer to our goal of delivering broadband access to all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new Comcast network will allow Montgomery’s citizens to finally take advantage of digital resources like educational textbooks, online tools connecting small businesses with new customers, and applications that bring together families and friends.”
“I have had the privilege of visiting all 351 communities across the Commonwealth, including rural towns in Western Massachusetts like Montgomery that were awaiting access to important broadband internet service,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is pleased partner with MassTech on the Last Mile grant program, which facilitates the implementation of high-speed internet connection to provide necessary resources for families, students and businesses.”
The launch makes Montgomery the 16th Last Mile town with a completed project, as 373 households in Montgomery now have access to high-speed internet through the new network. The project has delivered broadband connectivity to more than 99 percent of premises in the town, well above the Last Mile grant’s target of 96 percent, and Comcast is completing construction to the remaining homes and will reach 100 percent of premises in town.
“We thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Baker-Polito Administration for their commitment to expanding broadband coverage to our town, and appreciate Comcast’s dedication to connecting the homes and businesses across Montgomery,” said Michael Morrissey, Chair of the Montgomery Select Board. “This new connectivity will have a profound impact on our current residents and to attract new people to our town. For our town offices, they’ll be able to access new cloud based software and more easily submit project plans to state agencies. This is critical infrastructure for the future of our community.”
The Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech Collaborative awarded Comcast a grant of up to $805,800 in June 2017 to design, build, own, and operate a broadband network in the Town of Montgomery. The grant was the first made under the MBI’s Private Sector Request for Proposals, which sought out companies willing to expand high-speed internet in an unserved town.
“The completion of this network deployment project in Montgomery signifies Comcast’s commitment to bringing high-speed Internet to residents and businesses in formerly unserved towns of western Massachusetts. We are proud to partner with the MBI in this endeavor, and are dedicated to our investment in the Commonwealth,” said Dennis Mathew, Senior Vice President for Comcast’s Western New England Region, which includes western Massachusetts.
This will be the second Last Mile project completed by Comcast, following the completion of a nine town project for partially-served towns in September 2018. The company is also constructing networks to deliver broadband to the Town of Worthington and in the Town of Middlefield, projects also supported by the Last Mile program.
“We thank Comcast for partnering with the Commonwealth on this project and for delivering a 21st century network for the people of Montgomery,” stated Peter Larkin, MBI’s Board Chair and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Last Mile project. “We’re excited to see the impact this enhanced connectivity will have on the future of Montgomery.”
“I think of how excited the residents of Montgomery must be to finally have this capability in their town and how long they’ve waited,” said Senator Don Humason (R - 2nd Hampden & Hampshire District). “I have to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for not giving up and for making this a priority. This is a real legacy they leave for Western Mass. Thank you to Comcast and all the partners who worked through this complicated process to bring this vital service that many other parts of the Commonwealth take for granted to our constituents.”
"As we head into 2020, broadband access is important to keep residents informed and connected,” said Representative Lindsay Sabadosa (D - 1st Hampshire District). “Unfortunately, many small towns in the Commonwealth still do not have broadband. I'm happy to see Montgomery, the last town in the 1st Hampshire District without access, finally receive coverage through Comcast. Thank you to those within Montgomery who pushed hard for this and to those who made this a reality."
Since 2016, the Last Mile program has invested nearly $35 million in direct awards to support broadband connections, including public/private projects and municipal-owned fiber-to-the-home networks. Of the 53 communities that were either completely or partially unserved at the beginning of 2016, only one remains, as 52 towns are now on a path to broadband connectivity. To date, 16 of these 53 towns have completed networks, delivering internet speeds at or above the FCC’s definition of broadband (25 megabits per second for downloads/3 megabits per second for uploads) to over 6,800 premises.
“The Last Mile program has seen great progress over the past few years, with more residents gaining broadband access,” stated Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the MassTech Collaborative, the parent organization of the MBI. “As we head into 2020, more municipalities are scheduled to come online, closing the digital divide for thousands of residents across western and central Massachusetts.”
About the MBI
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.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe's leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.