WiredWest to Incorporate Telecom Cooperative in August

  • FTTH
  • WiredWest
ASHFIELD, MA - More than 20 western Massachusetts towns will officially form a cooperative on August 13 to build and operate a state-of-the-art telecommunications network. The new cooperative, WiredWest, will create a community-owned network that will offer high-quality Internet, phone and television services to member towns, which have historically been unserved or underserved.

Today, most WiredWest towns have only partial coverage from limited-bandwidth broadband technologies. WiredWest aims to create fair access to broadband for all residents of member towns and to provide very high-quality services on a state-of-the-art network that will meet the escalating bandwidth requirements of businesses and homeowners and provide enough capacity for many decades. The proposed WiredWest network will connect to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute's middle-mile fiber-optic infrastructure to create a future-proof, robust network from end to end.

Twenty-two Western Massachusetts towns have already taken the necessary steps to join the WiredWest cooperative by passing votes in two consecutive town meetings. Eighteen additional towns are in the process of voting and are expected to join the cooperative over the next year.

WiredWest is using Municipal Light Plant legislation, initially drafted in 1906 when rural towns faced a similar crisis of access to fundamental services from a lack of electricity. In 1996, the provision of telecommunications services was added to the statute, which enables municipalities to build and operate broadband services in the Commonwealth.

The leadership team and working groups are finalizing a business plan, putting financing together and planning the network. The group recently received a $50,000 planning grant from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and has raised additional funding from local businesses and individuals to assist with start-up requirements.


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