About Petersham Broadband

Broadband Information Meeting Wednesday October 10th – Town Hall – 7:00 PM
Broadband Special Town Meeting November 19th
Broadband Equipment Room Nears Completion

BROADBAND INFORMATION MEETINGS
Tentatively scheduled for
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 10TH with a second meeting scheduled for early November prior to the
NOVEMBER 19TH SPECIAL TOWN MEETING.

*YOUR VOTE OF SUPPORT WILL INSURE THE TIMELY COMPLETION OF OUR HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND NETWORK*


STATE VOTES TO AWARD PETERSHAM $880,000 FOR BROADBAND PROJECT

The Petersham Broadband MLP Board is pleased to report that in two separate
unanimous votes, the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Broadband
Institute on September 5th and the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts
Technology Collabarative on September 11th, acting on behalf of the Massachusetts Executive Office
of Housing and Economic Development voted to enter into a agreement to
award Petersham $880,000 under the State’s Broadband Grant program.

While this is great news, this grant like many of the other grants the Town
has been awarded in the past for other projects, provides reimbursement
to Petersham after the project has been completed.
For this reason the Town will be holding a Special Town Meeting currently
scheduled for Monday November 19th to secure permission from the voters to
provide the additional funding necessary to complete our Broadband project.
The State grant provides for reimbursement of these expenses within 45 days
of proper notification of completion of the project now scheduled for the
summer of 2019.

*As shown in the Broadband Project Time-line below, Petersham, working with
our project partner Matrix Design, is and has been ready to begin
installing fiber-optic cable and simultaneously connecting our more than
350 prepaid subscribers since **the physical utility pole review was
completed by Verizon and National Grid more than five months ago (March
2018).*

*As we approach the end of September we are still awaiting the final of 26
pole application Make-Ready work invoices which Petersham applied for from
Verizon and National Grid in January 2018.*

*Once all invoices have been received and paid by the Town, both utilities
need to complete the work of preparing their poles to have the fiber
optic-cable installed by Petersham’s Broadband partner, Matrix Design.*

*Although we have no control over the utilities’ work schedule, we remain
hopeful that we will have the center of Town connected by early spring 2019
and the entire Town completed by the summer of 2019.*

*While the delay in hearing back from the two utilities has been
frustrating and time-consuming, it is important to keep in mind how far we
have come in Petersham’s eight-yearlong quest to bring true high-speed
connectivity to our residents, businesses & students.*

*Petersham’s Broadband project remains far ahead of most of the other 45
“unserved communities” of western and central Massachusetts.*

*Based upon Matrix’s past project performance, we can anticipate that once
we have the approval of the utilities to proceed, Matrix Crews will be *
*installing upwards of a mile of state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable a day.*

We are approaching the end of an eight-yearlong bureaucratic process, but
once Petersham receives all of its utility pole permits the remainder of
the Broadband project comes under our complete control.
Your patience has been appreciated!


“Why Highspeed Broadband is worth the wait”

Is the topic of Petersham resident Troy Word’s short documentary about the
importance of Fiber-Optic Broadband to our community.


Petersham extends our thanks to Senator Anne Gobi and Representative
Susannah Whipps for their ongoing support for State grant funding to help
provide true high speed Broadband connectivity to the residents, businesses
and students of Petersham!

The Petersham Broadband Municipal Light Plant Board believes that your
expression of thanks would be appreciated by both of our current legislators

anne-gobianne.gobi@masenate.gov

 

susannah-whipps
Susannah.Whipps@mahouse.gov


Petersham Broadband MLP Board – Broadband Project Strand Map details our
commitment to provide connectivity to 100% of the town’s residents

strand-map

 


Petersham Broadband Network Equipment Room Nears Completion
Through careful collaboration with our project partner Matrix Design Group
Petersham has been able to save nearly $75,000 dollars by locating the
town-owned Broadband Network Equipment Room in a newly constructed facility
in the down stairs of the Town Hall. This innovative approach enabled us to
not only save money, but also eliminated the need to purchase the large,
unsightly concrete and steel prefab buildings being used in many other
communities.
Throughout the planning phases of our Broadband Project, protecting the
environment and aesthetics have been a top priority. Where ever possible
town owned fiber installations connecting remote areas within the town are
scheduled to be located out-of-sight in armored underground conduit.

equipment-room


Concise Project Time-line 2016–2018

*November 2016 –* Petersham issues an RFP for Broadband network services.
Only one proposal is received, from Matrix Design Group.

*November 2016-* The State acting through the Massachusetts Broadband
Institute issues a Request For Proposals (RFP) for possible cable company
provided Broadband services for all 45 of the “unserved communities”
including Petersham.

*December 2016 – *In its second largest meeting ever, Petersham by a vote
of 299 to 7, authorizes $560,000 for broadband Make-Ready work contingent
on signing up a minimum of 250 customers and that no cable offer is
received through the State RFP in February 2017.

*February 2017 –* The MBI RFP for potential Cable Provided Broadband
services receives offers for only six communities. Petersham does not
receive an offer.

*February 2017 —* MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) is signed between Town of
Petersham and Matrix.

*March/June 2017 —* 359 customers (70% of the homes in town) sign-up and
submit $250 presubscription payment (held in Treasurer’s Escrow Account)
for high-speed Internet service.

*July 2017 —* Detailed Matrix Pole Data Survey is completed in record time.

*July 2017 –* Town issues RFP for Network Equipment Room construction.

*August 2017 –* Town opens and takes under advisement Equipment Room bids.

*September 2017* — Matrix Route Strand Map is completed in Petersham.

*September 2017 *— Network equipment room is built in Town Hall.

*November 2017 — *Formal agreement is signed between Matrix and Petersham.
(Contract is vetted and approved by the law firms of Kopelman & Paige; Schenck,Price, Smith & King; and LeClair-Ryan.)

*November 2017 -* Required utility company surety bonds are acquired
and proof of insurance documentation is submitted to utilities.

*November 2017 —* Matrix completes preliminary fiber network design.

*December 2017 —* 26 pole attachment applications are completed and run
through a rigorous quality control check.

*January 2018 *– All 26 utility pole attachment applications are submitted –
13 for Verizon and 13 for National Grid.

*March 2018 –* Utility subcontractors complete their field review of pole
lines. Petersham awaits their response*.

*June 2018 *– Petersham Select-Board and Broadband MLP issue RFP for new
Town-owned pole lines and/or buried conduit to connect East-to-West
sections of Town via Monson Turnpike.

*June 2018 – *Petersham Broadband MLP issues RFP for network equipment room
electric service.

*July 2018 –* Network Equipment Room electrical work is completed and
Back-up generator is installed and tested.

*August 8, 2018 –* Four RFP responses for Town-owned Monson Turnpike fiber
connector are opened and taken under review.

**April-August 2018 *– Petersham continues to wait for final responses from
utilities to its 26 permit applications to attach fiber to poles.
Make-Ready work completed by the utilities is necessary before Matrix’s
construction of the fiber network can begin. Matrix’s schedule calls for
completion of all customer Broadband connections in the center of Petersham
with three months of utility Make-Ready completion. The final portions of
Town to be connected within six months of the completion of utility
Make-Ready work.

*August 7, 2018 –* Select-Board and Broadband MLP Chair conference with
officials from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and Massachusetts
Technology Council (MBI/MTC) to confirm scheduled vote to be held on
9/5/2018 and 9/11/2018 to authorize guaranteed State broadband
reimbursement grant funding to the Town in the amount of $880,000 based
upon completion of the milestones listed above and future network milestone
achievements.

* September 5 / 11 2018- * By unanimous votes, the Board of Directors of
the Massachusetts Broadband Institute on September 5th and the Board of
Directors of the Massachusetts Technology Consortium on September 11th,
acting on behalf of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and
Economic Development voted to enter into an agreement to award Petersham
$880,000 under the State’s Broadband Grant program.

YOUR FEEDBACK QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ARE IMPORTANT TO US: petershambroadband@gmail.com
Petersham Broadband MLP | 3 South Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366


Working to Build the Connection

Like many towns in the western part of Massachusetts, Petersham, through its appointed Broadband Committee, is working hard to find sustainable and cost-effective ways to provide modern Internet access to its citizens and businesses.
Petersham’s civic institutions are already connected to what is known as the MassBroadband123 “Middle-Mile Network” implemented by the Commonwealth; now the focus is to extend the same high-quality connection to the “Last-Mile” — that is to the homes and businesses of the community.

High Speed Access Today and Tomorrow

There is general agreement that reliable, high speed broadband internet has become a fundamental need just as electric and telephone service; its not a luxury.

Having broadband internet access is necessary for:

  • Preserving real estate values and building the tax base
  • Working from home for all types of businesses
  • Educational opportunities for the youngest to the oldest student
  • Access to news, books and online databases
  • Healthcare networks and tele-medicine capabilities
  • Civic alerts and notifications
  • Online banking, shopping and business
  • Online news and media (newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, blogs, etc.)
  • Online entertainment (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.)
  • Online gaming (Xbox, Playstation, Wii, etc.)
  • Access to social media and community (Facebook, InstaGram, Twitter, etc.)

What we have, Where We are Going

Petersham is defined by the Commonwealth as an “unserved” community because there is no cable service or broadband service that operates here. Currently the only options for internet access are Verizon DSL, satellite service, dial-up modems and spotty access via cellular systems. In today’s world of need and technology these options no longer qualify as viable, long term solutions.

More importantly, Verizon is no longer even connecting new subscribers to their Petersham DSL network and homeowners who let their subscription lapse lose the DSL option permanently. The newer you, or your neighbors, are in town the more likely it is that you will not have DSL service. The Broadband Committee is now hearing meaningful, real life stories on a regular basis about families and businesses negatively impacted by lack of reliable high speed service. This issue is hitting newcomers to Petersham the hardest, regardless of their geographic location in town.

In the end, none of the technologies currently available are truly future-proof and none of them can be classified as broadband using the federal FCC definition of the term. Each of these technologies also have their unique problems that make them unfavourable as long-term, sustainable solutions for Petersham.

– DSL speed is fundamentally limited by the physics of copper telephone wire and even now the network electronics at the local Verizon Central Office on East Street are aging and degrading.
Verizon has been publicly open about their plans to not implement upgrades to DSL.

– Satellite Internet is notorious for its slow speed and high network delays which make it  unreliable for anything more than simple web browsing. Satellite Internet also has an infamous tendency to fail when it rains.

– Cellular-based Internet may eventually improve in the region but given the population-density and the wooded landscape it is likely that there will never be enough cellular coverage to make fast internet uniformly available in town. There are many locations in Petersham where one cannot even make a cell-phone call, never mind establish an internet connection.

Positively Moving Petersham Forward

To find a way forward the Petersham Broadband Committee has been working diligently for the past six years to develop a workable plan for the town’s Last-Mile connectivity. In those six years, the Committee has heard increasingly growing interest – that is, demand – from residents and businesses to find a solution.
The good news is that there is now a complete proposal in hand for building a smart, state-of-the-art, fiberoptic network in Petersham that will allow homes and businesses to make true high speed connection at reasonable fees.
This website is designed to keep the community informed and up-to-date on all aspects of this proposed plan. We hope you follow along, check this site regularly as the process unfolds, and reach out to the Broadband Committee at any time with your questions.

Broadband Committee contact:  petershambroadband@gmail.com .