PBMLP votes Oct. 19 to pursue town controlled Internet network

Here’s a press release from Princeton Broadband MLP:

– New plan assumes a vendor-built network managed by Princeton-

Princeton Broadband Municipal Light Plant (PBMLP) will vote Oct. 19 to pursue installing a high-speed Internet network controlled and managed by the town but built by a qualified vendor/installer. This solution follows successful ventures by many municipalities nationwide now reaping the financial benefits of network control and ownership.

“We looked at different options from several vendors and also one from the state-control MBI initiative,” said Jon Fudeman, PBMLP member. “We all agreed that control and ownership by any outside entity would deny Princeton residents the flexibility to decide who runs their network and oversees its operation. Under our proposed solution, Princeton keeps the revenue generated from all subscription fees, while delivering affordable ultra-fast Internet access with the lowest possible risk.”

The Princeton plan – dubbed “Connecting Princeton” – will require borrowing funds that town officials believe will not increase property taxes. PBMLP anticipates scheduling a special town meeting in 2016 to present its plan in more detail. A two-thirds majority vote is required to pass PBMLP’s recommendation.

The public, as always, is invited to attend the public meeting on Oct. 19, which will be held at Town Hall Annex at 5 pm.

Find Out Firsthand Where Princeton Stands on Internet

Many folks have been asking about an update on bringing fiber optic internet to Princeton. Finally, here’s our chance to find out the latest!

The Princeton MLP/Select Board agenda for 10/19 (doublecheck the town calendar for exact time) includes a vote that will define how the town will finance the municipal fiberoptic network if authorized in a Town Meeting.

If you are interested in progress, you are invited to attend in person to discover their rationale, where the project presently stands and what the next steps are.

August Update

Here is an update on the latest happenings:

  • A formal Request For Information (RFI) to build the fiber optic network project was issued by the Town; there were 7 parties in the phone interviews and 4 formal respondents (including 3 new organizations that might be interested in being part of a build).
  • Make Ready funds for fixing poles will become available in September; this would start the application process with VZ and allow PMLD to start work.
  • The Advisory board has been enlisted to review risk, financing and cost estimates by the Select Board.
  • Axia, a vendor offering some equity to participate, has been invited in to explain their proposal, which includes $50/month/subscriber for 100Mbps, to the Select Board and Advisory Board. 
  • Leverett’s fiber network was fully lit and running in May; 79% of their households are subscribers; this is very encouraging.

Internet Make-Ready Funding is Approved

Here’s a press release put out by the Princeton MLP this week:

$1 million for Internet make-ready gets approval

-Total of $1.2 million now allocated to prepare for town-wide fiber optic installation –

July 8, 2015, Princeton, MA – The Princeton Board of Selectman voted July 7 to move forward with borrowing the $1 million remaining on the $1.2 million approved by town meeting voters for make-ready activities necessary for installing a town-wide high-speed fiber optic Internet network. The vote was 3 to 0 with added approval from members of the Advisory Board in attendance.

The $1.2 million total represents an estimate prepared by the Princeton Broadband Committee to cover work by Verizon and project consultants for engineering studies, pole assessments and upgrades, installing fiber optic wire hangers, police details and the construction of telecommunications huts. The work will involve examining and preparing each of Princeton’s nearly 2700 poles on public ways and additional poles on residential properties that are currently co-owned by Verizon and the town light department.

The board also approved a Request for Information, which was prepared by the Broadband Committee and set for distribution to potential vendors next week.

According to Stan Moss, chair, Princeton Broadband MLP, “The unanimous vote by the board to borrow the full amount is a major step forward in bringing high-speed fiber optic Internet into every Princeton home. There are some procedural steps to process through – bond counsel approval and the loan auction by our financial advisor – before we will have the funds in hand. Consensus among board members is that things are finally moving along but there is still much to do.”

Board Gives Approval to Borrow Internet Make-Ready Funding

While there is a heck of a lot of work being done behind the scenes by the Princeton Broadband MLP and others, many of us on the outside have felt frustrated by the seemingly lack of tangible measures of progress so far in 2015. However, here’s some good news on an essential step in this process – getting the make-ready work off the ground.  The following is a press release from the Princeton Broadband MLP.   

Board Gives Approval to Borrow Internet Make-Ready Funding

High-speed Internet access gets significant boost with $200K for engineering study

June 22, 2015, Princeton, MA – The Princeton Advisory Board voted 5-0 June 22 recommending that the Board of Selectmen proceed with borrowing $200,000 to begin make-ready activities necessary to installing a town-wide high-speed fiber optic Internet network. While voters approved borrowing $1.2 million to cover all estimated pre-construction activities, town officials believe incremental spending is the best way to move forward until a vendor is chosen to install the network.

The funds, when made available in mid-July, will be used to cover work by Verizon and project consultants for engineering studies and pole assessments. The work includes examining each of Princeton’s nearly 2700 poles on public ways and additional poles on residential properties that are currently co-owned by Verizon and PMLP. The inspection team will agree if an individual pole needs replacement or upgrading, determine the cost for the work on each pole, and whether the Light Department or Verizon will perform the work.

According to Stan Moss, chair, Princeton Broadband Municipal Light Plant (PBMLP), “Make ready work has begun, which is the first major step in reaching our goal of bringing high-speed Internet access into every Princeton home. As work continues toward vendor selection, PBMLP feels the project is back on track and now moving forward as quickly as possible. If all the pieces associated with this project fall into place, we are still looking at a completion date of late next year.”

Passing the Broadband Torch to the Princeton Broadband MLP

handsWith the town vote and establishment of the Princeton Broadband MLP to spearhead contract negotiations and make ultimate decisions for bringing high speed internet to our town, the Princeton broadband committee essentially fulfilled its raison d’être (reason for being) and, consequently, was dissolved this past month. In other words, we are passing the “broadband torch” to the Princeton Broadband MLP to see this thing through to a successful end for the town.

Since princetonbroadband.com and its associated Facebook page was originated and maintained by those of us on the broadband committee during its tenure, the dissolution of the committee also signifies a shift in the purpose and nature of this site. Instead of serving as the official source for broadband news in Princeton, princetonbroadband.com is now what could best be described as the unofficial source. Our plans are to continue to update the town residents on all things broadband here, but we do so now from an unofficial, independent perspective. As important, we also want to continue to provide an ongoing forum for discussions and commentary amongst the Princeton community – both on this site and on our Facebook page.

For official Princeton Broadband MLP news, the best online source is the Town of Princeton web site. (But note that we will pass along MLP info here as we see things posted.)

Matrix, Princeton End Talks Over Network Control Issues

The Princeton Broadband MLP issued a press release tonight discussing the official end of talks with Matrix. (Click here to read). On the surface, that sounds like disappointing news for we Princetonites, desperate for true high speed internet. But after the molasses-like pace that characterized the talks with Matrix for months and months now and which prevented Princeton from being able to begin the make-ready repairs, this news actually looks like it could be a positive step in the right direction. There appear to be other potentially interested vendors to fill the void left by Matrix. I am cautiously optimistic that one of these may very well, in the end, be a much better match for us. We are continuing to monitor any and all developments here on princetonbroadband.com and will keep you updated as we learn of them.

Read official Princeton Broadband MLP press release »