Clarification on Absentee Ballots for Special Town Meeting

We have had a couple of questions on whether absentee ballots are permissible for the upcoming Special Town Meeting. Here is the official word from Town Administrator John Lebeaux:

Under Mass General Laws there is no provision for absentee voting at town meeting. Casting your vote at the November 18th Special Town Meeting requires you attend the town meeting.

Voters may vote via absentee ballot for the December 9th Debt Exclusion vote. Preferably, applications for absentee voting should be made to the Town Clerk after the Nov. 4 state election. Should there be need to apply prior to that date, please contact the Town Clerk directly at


Special town meeting seeks $1.4 million for high-speed Internet work

From The Landmark:

Selectmen voted Monday to schedule a Nov. 18 special town meeting to ask whether voters support spending $1.4 million for make ready work for the construction of a high-speed Internet network in town.

Selectmen also agreed to set Dec. 9 for a special ballot election debt exclusion vote for the borrowing and authorized Town Administrator John Lebeaux to prepare the warrant for the meeting.

The board also signed a memorandum of agreement with Matrix Design Group, Inc. to negotiate an agreement between the town and the Municipal Light Plant Board of Directors for the design, financing, construction, maintenance and operation of a fiber to the home network within Princeton.

Read full article at »


Significant Step Towards Matrix Plan Reached

Formula One World Championship

Ladies and gentlemen of Princeton. Start your engines. 

An important milestone was reached tonight in the effort to bring high-speed broadband to Princeton. In tonight’s Princeton Broadband MLP meeting, the directors signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Matrix/Millennium for the purposes of negotiating an agreement between the MLP and Matrix Design Group for the design, financing, and construction of a fiber-to-the-home network within Princeton.  While the MOU is not the final contract to do the network construction, it is a significant step towards that end. (To use a relationship analogy, Princeton entered the “dating stage” with Matrix.)

In this proposed “public/private” venture, Matrix is agreeing to fund the entire cost of building the fiber network throughout the town. But, for our part in this proposed partnership, Princeton would be responsible for ensuring that the town infrastructure is ready for Matrix to do the buildout. In order to do this, there are necessary “make ready” costs that the town needs to pay to get all of the utility poles in proper condition as well as fund other start up costs (police details, etc.).

That’s why, with the MOU signed, the Princeton Broadband MLP recommended to the town Select Board to hold a special town meeting on November 18 at 7pm (at Thomas Prince) for the purpose of voting to borrow funds for “make ready” costs. The Select Board unanimously approved this recommendation.

In order to borrow the funds for make ready, 66% of the voters must approve this proposal. If that vote passes, then broadband will come to our town. An agreement will then be negotiated with Matrix to make this plan a reality.

With all of this news, there are surely many questions that come to mind, such as:

  • How much are the make ready costs?
  • How long will it take for Matrix Design Group to build the network?
  • When can I signup?
  • How much would a monthly subscription cost?
  • Do we have a chance to state funding to pay for some of the make ready costs?

That’s why we will be holding two informational meetings in November (specifics to follow) to provide complete details on the “private/public” plan with Matrix Design Group, make ready costs, subscriber plans, and more. On, we will also provide all of the details you will need to make a fully informed decision on November 18.

So, start your broadband engines! Get ready to get informed and get involved. Most important, make sure you do your part in the coming weeks so that together we can, once and for all, bring high-speed broadband to our town.


Broadband Push by Wired West Hitting Outskirts

I get calls every week about this. It’s long overdue. Sadly, the private sector, the Comcasts, the Verizons, won’t help us. But that’s fine. We’ll get this done.

- State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli

Princeton is a member community of Wired West, a partnership of 44 Massachusetts town designed to bring high-speed broadband to their respective communities.   Here’s a recent update from the Berkshire Eagle on Wired West efforts to receive state funding:

A group representing residents is fanning out across rural Western Massachusetts to begin the final leg in efforts to bring high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved communities. Wired West, a partnership composed of 44 member communities, met recently to hammer out a more coordinated strategy, according to Monica Webb, of Monterey, chairwoman of the group. These communities hail from Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Worcester counties.

At a meeting at the Statehouse, hosted by state Sen. Stan C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst, legislators met with representatives from the Franklin County Council of Governments (FRCOG), the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative (MBI) and WiredWest to discuss the next phase of the project. The discussion, according to Webb, yielded a comprehensive plan, cost estimates and timetable for connecting residential customers in each town. The plan will begin with regional meetings to share information and data with residents and local officials, while feedback is gathered and options are evaluated. Webb explained that the three entities have agreed to convene in working groups on a weekly schedule to accelerate planning and deployment.”This will put us on track to meet with town selectboards this fall to provide updates and relay more details on town financial participation,” she said.

Read the full Berkshire Eagle article  »

Late September Update: We’re Getting Close

A September 2014 newsletter is available for download that gets you up to date on the latest developments in bringing high-speed broadband to the town of Princeton. It discusses:

  • Current status of the Matrix/Millennium proposal
  • Overview of “make-ready” work that is required to build out a fiber network in town
  • Update on possible state funding
  • What you can do

Download the September Newsletter (.pdf) »

Progress Update: Pole Audit Begins

Contract signed to conduct pole audit moves broadband installation to next level

Following approval from the board of selectmen, Princeton has finalized and signed an agreement with Linx Associates to conduct the engineering study necessary to estimating costs to prepare the town’s utility poles for the installation of the proposed high-speed fiber optic network. Voters at the 2014 annual town meeting approved the funds to cover project expenses, estimated at $6970.

Fieldwork for the project will be conducted by a representative from Linx assisted by a representative of the Princeton Municipal Light Department. Work is expected to begin immediately with a final report due September 30.

Princeton Broadband, the newly formed municipal light plant (MLP), is currently determining an exact figure of all final costs to meet the installation requirements established by Matrix/Millennium, the company that has presented a proposal to bring Internet access into Princeton homes at no taxpayer expense.

While the contract to begin the network installation is still unsigned, the proposal has been reviewed and amended by legal counsel in preparation for an approval by the MLP. Final contract approval will occur after a special town meeting is held later this fall to approve borrowing funds to cover the town’s portion of “make ready’” costs.

Princeton is one of 47 Massachusetts towns eligible for a portion of $45 million allocated for ‘last mile’ network construction. Funding formulas are currently being reviewed and awaiting release pending the anticipated approval of Gov. Deval Patrick in late 2014.