Help Bring Broadband to Western Mass!

The Hilltown Community Development Corporation writes:

As you well know, many areas in western Massachusetts are unserved by basic broadband services. In 2008, the state legislature and Governor Patrick established the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) to help bring broadband access to all unserved citizens, starting in Western Mass. The MBI is now applying for federal infrastructure funding to build an advanced fiber-optic network in the region. This “middle mile” network will be open to all service providers who want to provide broadband services to unserved citizens. To be successful, the MBI needs your assistance!

A major element required of all applicants is to demonstrate strong demand for broadband service. MBI needs letters describing the impact the lack of broadband has on your business and your life, and how improved broadband connectivity will benefit you personally.

To be effective, these support letters must not be form letters, but must be specific and individualized. Due to the limited timeframe for the application process, we have provided a few points of guidance to assist you in preparing your letter.

WesternMA Connect will lead the effort to collect local letters and collaborate with existing broadband committees to assist in the effort. In order to meet the submission deadline date, we ask that you complete and return the letters to WesternMA Connect by Friday, March 5. Please contact Sharon Ferry of WesternMA Connect at 413-496-9606 or sharon@westernmaconnect.org for more information.

NOTE: To be included in the final application package, the letters must be mailed to Sharon Ferry, WesternMA Connect, Inc., 75 South Church Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 and postmarked by Friday, March 5th; or email a signed, scanned letter or letter with electronic signature no later than 5 pm on Monday, March 8th to sharon@westernmaconnect.org.


Here’s the format for the letter:

March 15, 2010

Larry Strickling
Assistant Secretary and Administrator
U.S. Department of Commerce / NTIA
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Assistant Secretary Strickling:

I am writing in support of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s application to the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure Grant Program.

[Insert brief description of yourself, your business and your location]

[Insert a strong, compelling description of the negative impacts the lack of broadband access has had on you personally and in business, and how you will use broadband once it is available. Include specific examples from your life and work.]

Thank you for your consideration of this application. [insert a closing statement] If you need further information, please contact me at [insert telephone number].

Sincerely,

[Insert name]
[Insert title]
[Insert address]

2 Comments

  1. March 5, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Thank you Bob for your feedback. It’s great to hear perspectives from local families impacted by this issue.

  2. Bob R said,

    March 5, 2010 at 1:59 am

    As a resident of the broadband-unserved town of Washington — other than the small part of it within the DSL coverage of the Becket CO — I’ve been hearing politicians and pie-in-the-sky idealists promising that this town and its peers throughout Berkshire County will one day be brought into the 20th century re Internet connectivity (maybe by the 23rd century we’ll get 21st-century service).

    A HughesNet dish in my front yard and a $70/month bill provides me with 1 Mb/s “broadband”. I do not believe for a nanosecond that any real broadband option will be available in my lifetime. The hype that I’ve been hearing for a decade or more has long since become stale and meaningless.

    If one wishes to believe that we in the forgotten part of the state will some day join the Internet revolution, that’s fine by me. Some people also believe in Martians and Santa Claus.

    While the civilized parts of MA are enjoying fiber and cable, those of us who would kill the person of one’s choice for DSL will watch as the Web becomes inaccessible to us who aren’t blessed with high-speed service. The digital divide is becoming a chasm.


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