New wireless service brings town broadband access
WiSpring and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative announced today that Tyringham, a small, rural community in Southern Berkshire County with a population of 350 people now has high-speed broadband Internet access. The service is being provided by WiSpring - a local wireless Internet service provider or WISP. WiSpring installed a tower in the town which allows it to serve 80% of the households in town with 5Mbs service. Currently, the Federal Communications Commission defines broadband at 4MBs.
"The Patrick-Murray Administration continues to foster public-private partnerships to support broadband adoption in unserved and underserved communities in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "I commend the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative and WiSpring for their hard work and dedication to the last mile program."
"This is a great moment for the town of Tyringham," said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. "I’m proud of the work MBI and WiSpring have done to bring broadband Internet access to this community."
Crispin Tresp the founder of WiSpring was in Town on Thursday to show the new tower and launch the service. Tresp is a resident of Great Barrington where he grew up.
"Tyringham was one of the most underserved towns in western Massachusetts,"said Tresp. "With this new service residents now have access to broadband Internet."
The service was installed with a $40,000 grant from MBI and use of the Department of Conservation and Recreation fire tower on Lenox Mountain in Richmond, MA. In 2011, the MBI awarded over $330,000 in grant funding to support eight broadband planning and deployment projects across western and central Massachusetts.
"This project represents the type of public-private collaboration required to deploy broadband infrastructure in hard to serve communities," said Judith Dumont, Director of the MBI. "The last mile grant program is starting to produce great results. We saw this in Leverett and we are seeing it now in Tyringham. The MBI cannot do this alone and we congratulate WiSpring on their success in meeting the challenge."
State Senator Ben Downing, Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, was in Tyringham to help announce the launch. The Senator was one of the early supporters of the MBI and has been a strong champion of improving broadband access in the region.
"This tower signifies the beginning of the end of the digital divide in western Massachusetts," said Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield). "I am thrilled to be here today and look forward to making sure that every community, family and business has a world class connection to the information superhighway."
Representative Pignatelli also attended the event and has been a supporter of the project since inception.
WiSpring is a wireless Internet Service provider (WISP). Their growing network in western Massachusetts offers high-speed broadband connectivity to businesses and residential customers. They provide Internet access to the un-served and under-served communities beyond the reach of existing cable and telecommunications infrastructure. The industry calls this the "Last Mile"; they call it the "First Mile".