Written by Phillip O’Brien
The Princeton MLP took important steps last month to move the broadband project forward by addressing several key legal and regulatory issues. These matters require time-consuming meetings and discussions with key participants, including MBI, Verizon, bond counsel, network consultants and Matrix Design Group. Here is the latest:
- In early January we learned from bond council that borrowing funds to begin the make-ready work is contingent upon certain requirements such as pole attachment rights and operational control. We have addressed these issues through written communications with Matrix Design Group and are working toward a solution that we expect to have in hand this month. Settling these issues means we can also move forward with Matrix contract negotiations while continuing to conclude make-ready work.
- We met with representatives from MBI on two occasions. As of this writing, no funds have been released from the state for broadband access purposes but MBI does assure us we will receive some funding when our network is operational. How much depends on several issues, including installation specifics and operational control. These issues are being addressing through our respective legal counsels.
- We also learned that we were not selected by the FCC for federal broadband funding in their latest round of grant applications. This decision will not deter our ongoing efforts to identify and pursue financial assistance from state and federal resources.
We will update you as developments occur. And believe me, we are as impatient and excited as you are to get broadband internet to Princeton!
Representatives from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) were guests at last week’s Princeton Broadband Committee meeting. Some notable takeaways from that meeting:
- Princeton is classified as an “unserved” community by the MBI. “Unserved” means that 90% or more of the population has no access to broadband.
- DSL and other forms of internet access available in Princeton are not considered “broadband” by the MBI, because they do not meet the minimum bandwidth standards of broadband access.
- There are approximately 25,000 households in Massachusetts that are “unserved”, most of which are in far western parts of the state. Princeton is considered the/one of the largest communities in Massachusetts that fall into the “unserved” category and the eastern most of these communities in the state.
We are continuously tracking progress of MBI construction of the fiber backbone as it inches closer and closer to Princeton.
If Princeton builds a townwide fiber network, the MBI backbone would connect our network to the rest of the world.
If Princeton builds a townwide fiber-to-the-home network, the MBI “middle mile” would serve as the critical connection between Princeton and the rest of the world. While key government locations of Princeton (e.g., town hall, school) will be connected this summer, MBI took a giant step forward by lighting up the first 51 communities in Massachusetts this week.