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Who is Killing the Towns of Western Massachusetts?
- Susan Crawford, Backchannel

4-Town RFP            Revised Bid Form


WESTFIELD — The auditorium was frigid, and mood dark, as a forum began in Worthington. But things warmed up fast for representatives of Whip City Fiber, sitting in back with their brochures and chewing gum giveaways. One after another, rural … more
WORTHINGTON — Broadband advocates from Berkshire County and beyond pressed Thursday for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to free up funding, speed decision-making and support regional solutions to a problem they say impairs civic life. more
The Western Massachusetts broadband effort has traveled a long and winding road over the past seven years, and traversing the last mile has taken on the dimensions of World War I trench warfare in which gains are measured in yards. Completing the … more
A broadband vision for the Berkshires crashed and burned one afternoon in December 2015.

A year later, people still poke through the wreckage. They want to understand why the Massachusetts Broadband Institute halted its long-running alliance with WiredWest, a nonprofit, grassroots cooperative that had signed up dozens of towns to build and operate a shared internet network. By linking through rings of fiber-optic cable, the thinking went, rural towns without broadband internet service could fashion an economical and reliable broadband network and join the 21st century. more

Nearly 10 years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick came to Becket with a promise of information-age equity: broadband internet service across Western Massachusetts. By 2011, he said. And yet the the “digital divide” persists. more
Here’s an overview of where each of the 19 towns designated as unserved by broadband in Berkshire County stand in their efforts to bring broadband to residents as of this month. In terms of status, towns like Hinsdale, Lanesborough and West Stockbridge are getting broadband internet service now. Other towns, such as Florida, haven’t started the process to pursue broadband. Here are the keys to understanding the vignettes; not all aspects are applicable to or were available from each town: more
Unserved towns with no private-sector broadband suitors must hire their own network builders, a state agency now says. It's a change some municipal leaders call abrupt and burdensome, but others see as a welcome path to independence. Officials with … more
"We're ready to go" and "Everybody's champing at the bit" were the reactions of two small-town Berkshirites on Saturday about the prospect of "the last mile" of broadband finally reaching homes and businesses in their communities. Their enthusiasm … more
Two might gobble the whole enchilada. Another just wants a nibble. Five private companies are making the case to win millions in state funding to build last-mile internet connections in Berkshire County. Six firms in all met the Massachusetts … more
NORTHAMPTON — Rather than build and run a sprawling regional broadband system, a nonprofit cooperative now seeks to fill a narrower but critical role for towns fighting to obtain fast internet connections. more


Four desperate towns make broadband pact, pitch MBI for funds
- Heather Bellow, Berkshire Edge

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission: Region faces third-world
connectivity, economic stagnation without ‘grand scale’ fiber investment
- Heather Bellow, Berkshire Edge

WiredWest to present broadband solution workshop
- Edge Staff, Berkshire Edge


A Road Trip, and How!

To read more about Jean and Ron's trip, CLICK HERE