Central Stretch of Broadband Network in Western MA on Track for Summer Completion

The three-year long effort to bring broadband internet to rural areas of western Massachusetts is due for completion this summer. But as New England Public Radio’s Henry Epp reports many homes and businesses will have to wait for full broadband connection.

120 communities are slated to be up and running with new high speed Internet service by late July or August.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point,” says Judy Dumont, the director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. Since its start in 2008, the institute has been charged with  bringing broadband to remote areas where private companies have been unwilling to invest in building Internet infrastructure. Dumont says it will take up to three years to get everyone online but finishing the central network is an important first step.

“Now that doesn’t mean that nobody will get online for three years, because it will probably be a phased approach, and that’s why the community involvement is so important.”

Dumont says the institute works with local officials and groups to determine the best strategies for communities to connect to broadband. Governor Deval Patrick introduced a bill in March that would put $40 million towards residential and business connections. Dumont says more private or federal funds would be needed to fully connect the whole region.