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.”
Some of you have been asking for the nitty gritty details on the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed this week by the Princeton Broadband MLP and the Matrix Design Group. Below are links to two documents for your reading pleasure. In the coming weeks, we will be presenting this information in a more “easy to digest” manner, but for the diehards, here you go:
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 thelandmark.com »
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 princetonbroadband.com, 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.
- Article 4 is a second vote taken by paper ballot to establish a telecommunications MLP, a public entity that is required to operate a local broadband network. The first vote successfully passed at last year’s town meeting by the required margin of 2/3. Failure to pass this article will eliminate the opportunity to again vote for the purpose of establishing an MLP for two years.
- Article 5 seeks to appropriate $17,000 to obtain technical and legal expertise to represent the town’s interest in any negotiations to build a network. These funds are specifically requested to explore and better understand any proposal from the private sector to build a network in town.
Note: The Advisory Board approves passing both these articles.
Fact 1: The town is not heading toward building a network completely funded by taxpayers.
Fact 2: The town currently has a proposal from a private firm to build a network under a public/private partnership, which will be paid for by subscribers to the service (Internet and telephone options) over a period of years. The town would own the network after that period. An MLP must exist for the town to consider this proposal.
Fact 3: The Princeton Broadband Committee is currently in the process of requesting funding assistance from the Commonwealth and/or the federal government to build a municipal network.
For a more extended discussion on the implications of the annual town meeting votes, check out Three Must-Dos in May »