$45 Million Authorized for High Speed Internet in Western Massachusetts

BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an act providing for immediate capital improvement needs of the Commonwealth that includes $45 million for broadband infrastructure to hasten efforts to close the broadband gap for unserved or, Last Mile, communities.

“Increasing the authorization for broadband services will help continue the work the administration has done to increase access to high speed internet in all communities in the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The administration encourages the Legislature to take action once the new session begins on the remaining bond requests before them, including funding for municipal grant programs for IT equipment, ADA adaptations, and other local priorities.”

Expanding Broadband Coverage in Western and North Central Massachusetts
In May 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration launched a new Last Mile leadership team and a new framework to accelerate implementation of broadband projects in unserved or underserved communities. This effort has supported multiple efforts to expand broadband coverage in Western and North Central Massachusetts. To date, 42 out of the 54 unserved or partially-served Last Mile towns have a working project that has been supported by the Commonwealth through either a direct grant for a municipal-led Last Mile project, or a solution from a private provider.

Today’s new authorization will further drive these efforts, critical to economic development, education and quality of life in unserved communities. “With this new funding, the administration is going the extra mile to ensure we continue to build the momentum we have in closing the broadband gap for communities in Western and Central Massachusetts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “High-speed, broadband internet is a necessity in today’s internet-connect world, and we will continue to work with municipalities to pursue collaborative solutions that best fit the unique needs of our unserved communities.”


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