Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Governor's Broadband Expansion Launches in Western Massachusetts

Governor Deval Patrick joined public officials and firefighters at the Sandisfield Fire Department to kick-off construction of the MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network project, one of the nation's largest projects of its kind. The 1,300 mile Internet backbone network will expand broadband access to more than 120 communities in western and north central Massachusetts, attract private investment, drive public and private sector innovation, and be a catalyst for both short and long term economic development in the region.

MassTLC, which recently issued a job growth challenge for the tech sector, has supported the Governor's broadband initiative, since it not only creates immediate tech jobs but paves the way for future growth in the sector, as entrepreneurs in western Massachusetts gain access to high speed connections and can more easily bring their products to market.

Governor Patrick launched the western Massachusetts effort early in his first term and worked with the legislature to create the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) and to provide state capital funding for broadband-related infrastructure projects. These resources, combined with an effective partnership with the Obama Administration and the Massachusetts congressional delegation, helped the MBI secure multiple federal grants worth more than $80 million, including $45.4 million in stimulus funds awarded through the highly-competitive National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

The BTOP funds will be used to complete the MassBroadband 123 project which, over the next two years, will put hundreds of people to work building a fiber-optic network to serve 333,500 households and 44,000 businesses in an area with more than one million residents. The MBI, the Commonwealth's Information Technology Division, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security are providing $26.2 million in matching funds for the project.

To expand high-speed Internet access in the region, the MBI will attach fiber-optic cable to 35,000 existing utility poles in the project's service area. The MBI is a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a public economic development agency chartered by the Commonwealth to spur innovation across the state.

View Governor Patrick's Broadband accomplishments.

VIDEO: Broadband is heded to the Berkshires - WSHM Channel 3

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