UPDATE OCTOBER 7, 2019

image91,000 feet (17.4 miles) of Brodband Project fiber-optic cable was delivered to Petersham last week.  This delivery represents approximately 1/3 of the total fiber that will be installed as part of our high-speed Broadband project.

Also last week, Verizon Make Ready Project management reported to Matrix Engineering Manager Zach Magid that Verizon expects to wrap-up all remaining work in Petersham within the next several weeks.

Completion of this work and the issuance of final pole licenses will move the remainder Petersham’s Broadband Project over to the Town and to our project partner Matrix Design.

In all instances so far, where Matrix has been in control of the process, their work has been completed on-time or in many cases has been completed early and on budget.

The seventy mile fiber-optic connection from the Equipment Room located in the Town Hall to the Internet back-haul provider in Boston is now “live”. All project Broadband connections will be distributed from this source location.

The nine-year-long process of bringing Broadband to the citizens of Petersham is about to begin in earnest.

*******************************************************************************

Update September 21, 2019

On Saturday 9/21 we had a good turnout for our latest Broadband Information Meeting  with about 60 people in attendance.

The Internet connection between the Broadband Equipment Room in the Lower Town Hall is now “live”.  This 70 mile fiber connection between Petersham and the Boston Internet “back-haul” provider will be the source of all resident connections.  Matrix is ready to start hanging fiber and connecting customers the minute Verizon finally completes the 15% of the utility pole  Make Ready work remaining. This is a major project milestone.

Although the vast majority (90%) of Broadband connections will be made aerially and no preparation work needs to be done  by the homeowner,  the meeting did review the procedure for the approximately 40 customers getting their communication services via underground conduit.

A representative from The Irrigation Company from Princeton was in attendance. He spoke with a number of folks after the meeting regarding conduit installation  issues.

For those people needing to install new underground conduit piping in order to be ready for the Matrix installation teams, a list of local conduit installers is available at the Town Office.

This is merely an informal local vendor list and residents  are free to do the work themselves or have it done by any contractor of their choosing.

Petersham resident Brad Becker owner of Becker Home Inspections has offered to be available, for a fee, to inspect existing conduit to help residents determine if it is fiber-ready. Again, he is a possible contact point only.  Residents can inspect there own conduit or seek help from anyone they wish.

Matrix does not do pre-connection conduit inspections and it is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that their underground conduit is ready  for fiber installation. The Matrix “Conduit Guide” is available at the Town Office.

A list  list of current TV streaming options has been created and is available at the Petersham Town Office.   There  will be a TV specific information meeting sometime within the next six weeks.

Giant spools containing more than 47 miles of fiber-optic cable will be delivered shortly to the Highway Barn in preparation for the start of hanging the fiber on our 1900+ utility poles.

Once Verizon signs off on their pole work Matrix teams will begin hanging more than a mile a day of fiber-optic cable.

The official Matrix Petersham Broadband website is currently in Beta testing and should be up and running within a few weeks.

Although the Petersham Broadband project has  been slowed by numerous State and utility company delays, in every instance where aspects of our project have been carried out directly by Matrix, the work has been completed on time (often sooner) and on budget. We expect that the construction & connection portion of the project will be carried out by Matrix in a similar fashion.

September 6, 2019 Update
Petersham now has 411 paid Broadband subscribers representing more than 75% of all homes and businesses  * State signed Broadband reimbursement grant in the amount of $880,000 last February * Matrix has reduced connection fee from $500 to $400 for those customers opting not to purchase telephone service * Broadband utility pole Make-Ready work (1900 poles) carried out by National Grid began on Monday April 3rd * National Grid contractors completed their work in record time on May 21st * Verizon crews began the final portion of the Make Ready work on May 22nd * Verizon crews have taken longer than expected but should be finishing up their work shortly (85% complete as of 9/3) * Matrix crews have been ready to begin the process of hanging their fiber-optic cable and connecting homes for many months but can not start until Verizon signs-off * 47 miles of fiber-optic cable is in the process of being delivered * Matrix is now scheduled to begin hanging fiber-optic cable within the next month * 70 Mile long Fiber connection between Petersham Broadband Equipment room in Lower Town Hall and Internet “Back-haul” provider in Boston was completed on August 27th * High Speed Broadband link to Town Hall Equipment Room scheduled to go live by late September (a wired/wireless high-speed connection for residents to try out will be available) *  Mile long Town-owned buried fiber-optic cable connecting the East & West sides of Town is currently being installed under Matrix supervision and will be completed by September 12th * The center of Town should be connected by October-November * Entire Town should still be connected by late spring.                  

Layout 1

collage-2019-04-07-17_46_25collage-2019-04-07-17_44_36


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

strand-map

The Broadband equipment that Matrix will be  installing at subscriber homes and businesses will be the latest and most technically advanced available from CALIX, a world leader in  networking infrastructure.    matrix-logocalix_logo

803G GigaPoint

–   Every subscriber will be getting an 803G

803g-gigapoint

844E GigaCenter   –  any anyone who
> signs up for the managed WiFi service will also be getting an 844E

844

 


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

*February 2019 -*

After more than nine years of effort, Petersham reaches a funding agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Mass Technology/ Massachusetts Broadband Institute) guaranteeing a Broadband Reimbursement Grant in the amount of $880,000. This grant becomes payable to the Town upon completion of the Broadband Network in the Spring of 2019.
This funding reduces Petersham's anticipated overall Broadband Project cost to just over $500,000.  The cost to Petersham taxpayer's will be far less the the cost for any of the  other 45 rural Central & Western Mass communities currently building Broadband networks.

*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 .