Project Blog

06/27/2017
Matrix Design Group Estimated Schedule for Petersham
In an effort to set expectations for the citizens of Petersham I thought it would be a good idea to both recap the work that has already been done and the estimated rough schedule of things to come.
Chris Lynch – Matrix Design Group
December 2016: The Town in a historic vote of 299-7 authorized the funds needed to accomplish the Town’s responsibilities in the FTTH (Fiber to the Home) build.
January 2017: The Town has to wait until January 23rd to find out if Petersham is named in the MBI’s  RFP to the cable providers. Petersham is not named as a Town of interest by either Comcast or Charter.
February 2017: The attorneys for both the Town and Matrix finalize the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) which is the legal necessary first step in the process.
March 9th – June 9th: Residents of Petersham have the opportunity to pre-subscribe for broadband service. A total of 270 subscribers in required in order to the project to proceed and the final total of 351 is actually reached (about 70% of the homes in town).
June 2017: A utility pole data survey in conducted by Matrix on behalf of the Broadband MLP and the final agreement / contract between Matrix and Petersham is expected to be signed.
July 2017: A Route Fiber Strand Map is created by Matrix on behalf of the Broadband MLP. This map will show the best routes for the fiber build based upon the utility company 200 poles per application process. The utility company pole attachment applications will also be filed with Verizon and National Grid (7-8 applications are expected) and the “make-ready” process is begun. This “make-ready” process normally takes 6-7 months to complete and is out of both Matrix’s and the Town’s control.
August-September 2017: Matrix will create the detailed Fiber Design for the project and the Town will issue the RFP (Request for Proposals) for the building of the space to house the network electronics and fiber in the basement of Town Hall.
September-October 2017: The room in the basement in Town Hall is constructed by the Town and either conduit or a new pole line is installed on Monson Turnpike by Matrix on behalf of the Broadband MLP. These facilities on Monson Turnpike are needed to connect the Petersham residents in the Flat Rock Road neighborhoods to the network. Today these residents are connected by utilities from Athol.
October-November 2017: The invoices for the second $250 installation fee will begin to be sent out. The timing of the invoices will be determined by when the licenses (permission) to attach our fiber are expected to come back from Verizon and National Grid.
November-December 2017: The licenses to attach fiber to the utility poles will hopefully begin to come in. At this time the construction schedule will be created and the build of the Connecting Petersham network will begin in the first part of 2018.
Of course there are many other tasks that need to happen but hopefully the above will give the people of Petersham a good understand of the things and timetable involved before we can even begin “putting fiber on the poles.”

05/31/2017

BROADBAND SIGN-UPS HAVE EXCEEDED 100% OF GOAL OF 270 PAID SUBSCRIBERS

After more than six years of careful research and planning, the Petersham Broadband MLP Board is pleased to announce that today they not only met, but have exceeded their three month goal of signing up 270 paid business and residential subscribers and Petersham, working with its partner Matrix Design, is now ready to immediately begin the design and construction of its state-of-the-art fiber-optic Broadband network.

This network will offer 100% of all Town businesses, students, and residents affordably priced Broadband connectivity utilizing future-proof fiber-to-the-home technology offering speeds that far exceed those of area monopoly cable companies for TV streaming, Internet, and Phone.

Having reached this milestone, Petersham becomes only the second of the 45 “unserved” Western Massachusetts communities to have actually signed up over 270 paid fiber-optic Broadband subscribers.

Matrix Design, the company that built the only other completed Fiber-Optic Broadband Network in Leverett, will design, build and operate Petersham’s Fiber Network under the oversight of the Petersham Broadband Municipal Light Plant Board. Petersham will have the option to purchase the network under a declining price formula at any time during the twenty- year life of the agreement.

Matrix Design will  invest more than $1,750,000 of their own funds and professional services to build the network. Petersham’s investment of $560,000 previously authorized by a Town Meeting vote of 299-7 is expected to be reimbursed through  Broadband grants  (as was the case in Leverett) once the Network has been completed in 2018.

 

04/27/2017

PERHAPS THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION ABOUT PETERSHAM’S HIGH SPEED
BROADBAND NETWORK IS:

WILL I BE ABLE TO WATCH MY FAVORITE TELEVISION PROGRAMS ONLINE?

THE ANSWER IS YES AND PROBABLY FOR FAR LESS MONEY THAN YOU’RE CURRENTLY
PAYING FOR SATELLITE TV THUS MAKING PETERSHAM BROADBAND MUCH CHEAPER THAN
YOUR CURRENT COMBINED DSL, PHONE, AND SATELLITE MONTHLY COSTS.
Why pay Directv, Dish or Hughes.net for 100 channels when you only watch a few
favorites? Subscribe to what you want to watch with the options below.

RETURN YOUR PETERSHAM BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTION FORM TODAY

If you have already signed-up thank you, but please check out your free and subscription
television viewing options below

YOUR TELEVISION OPTIONS FROM A RECENT CONSUMERS REPORT REVIEW

If you only watch a few movies or shows each month, it probably makes more sense to opt for a pay-per-view service, such as Amazon Video, FandangoNow ,or Vudu.

But if you do watch a lot of programs or movies, or you’re looking to cut back on—or cut off—your pay TV service, subscription services make the most sense. They offer up an all-you-can eat buffet of streaming content, often at a price well below what most of us spend each month for pay TV.

But it’s not always easy to untangle your choices. This guide of the major video streaming services should help. We’ll be adding new services as they emerge—we now have info on upcoming ones from Hulu and YouTube TV
—so keep checking at Consumer Reports for our updates.

Acorn TV

Price: $5 per month or $50 per year.

Who It’s Best For: Lovers of British TV fare. Goodies include TV dramas (“APlace to Call Home”), mysteries (“Agatha Raisin”), and comedies.

Latest News: Among the exclusives hitting the service are the classic ’80s comedy series “Alfresco,” which kick-started the careers of Hugh Laurie,Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, and Stephen Fry. Also in the mix: “The Witness for the Prosecution,” an original Agatha Christie movie with Kim Cattrall.

Amazon Prime Video

Price: $99 per year or $11 per month, with free shipping. A video-only subscription costs $9.

Who It’s Best For: Anyone who’s already paying for an Amazon Prime membership. It now has a solid roster of original shows, including “Z-The Beginning of Everything” and “The Grand Tour.” Amazon Prime has some exclusive series, such as “Downton Abbey” and “The Americans,” plus HBO’s back catalog of shows. You can add HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels for $9 to $15 per month.

Latest News: Amazon just snagged the rights to a 10-episode anthology series, “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.” Extra Prime perks include access to Prime Music and a free Kindle book each month.

CBS All Access

Price: $6 per month with ads or $10 per month ad-free.

Who It’s Best For: Cord-cutters looking for major-network fare without using an antenna. The service provides full-length episodes of CBS programs, plus live programming streams of local CBS affiliates in 124
markets. CBS All Access also includes complete back catalogs of most of its current series.

Latest News: In December CBS All Access added NFL football games, including “Thursday Night Football.” New exclusive original series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight.”

DirecTV Now

Price: $35 per month.

Who It’s Best For: Anyone who wanted DirecTV but not the satellite dish.
Right now you get about 60 channels for $35 per month, or 80 channels for $50 per month at any time.

Latest News: You can add HBO for only $5 more each month. Right now it lacks CBS and Showtime, and live TV from several other networks is available only in certain cities. A cloud DVR is promised but so far not delivered.

HBO Now

Price: $15 per month.

Who It’s Best For: HBO fans who don’t want to pay for cable. Sign up to get all the network’s series, movies, specials, and documentaries. If you already get HBO through your cable package, remember that the HBO Go app lets you watch HBO on your phone, tablet, and other devices.

Latest News: HBO Now just hit the 2 million-subscriber mark, and it’s now available on more devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox, Roku, Samsung TVs, and PlayStation Vue.

Hulu

Price: $8 per month with ads or $12 per month without ads.

Who It’s Best For: Cord-cutters who don’t want to miss out on broadcast TV. Hulu has current shows from ABC, Fox, and NBC; older ones from CBS; plus the “Seinfeld” library. Original content includes “The Path” and “The
Handmaid’s Tale.”

Latest News: Hulu is reportedly close to launching a pay-TV alternative along the lines of Sling TV and DirecTV Now (see below). It recently signed an exclusive deal with Magnolia Pictures to stream the company’s films after their theatrical release.

Hulu Live TV

Price: $40 per month (not yet available).

Who It’s Best For: Cord-cutters who want yet another option. The planned service will have the CBS, ABC, and Fox broadcast networks, plus cable channels such as A&E, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney, Fox News, FX, TBS, and TNT, among others.* It will also include ESPN and Fox Sports, plus some regional sports networks.*

Latest News: Right now the plan doesn’t include Viacom (Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon). The service, expected to launch this spring, will have separate logins for family members and will include a cloud DVR for recording shows. It may also provide real-time alerts for shows you want to watch. It’s not clear how many users will be able to access the service at one time.

Netflix

Price: $8 per month for standard-def video on a single screen; $10 per month for high-def video on up to two screens; $12 per month for 4K UHD video on up to four screens.

Who It’s Best For: Everyone. Netflix is still the king of binge. It has a vast library of movies and TV shows, plus now-classic original shows (“House of Cards,” “Orange is the New /”) and new hits (“Stranger Things”). It even has original movies (“Beasts of No Nation”). A deal with Marvel has spawned “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” and Netflix subscribers will get exclusive access to Disney titles within a year of their debut,
starting with 2016 releases.

Latest News: Netflix is luring Jerry Seinfeld away from Crackle, so in 2017 subscribers will get new episodes of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” plus two exclusive stand-up shows. New movies range from kid-friendly Disney fare to raunchier works.

PlayStation Vue

Price: $40 to $75 per month, depending on package.

Who It’s Best For: Those looking for a real cable TV-style programming package, and who are willing to pay for it. Packages range from basic channels (the $40-per-month Access plan) to a comprehensive package of about 90 channels that includes some premium channels (the $75-per-month Ultra plan). You also get local channels in many major markets—on-demand in others—plus a cloud DVR for recording shows.

Latest News: Late last year Vue added several channels, including BBC America, NBA TV, and Vice but lost Viacom stations such as Comedy Central, Spike, and MTV. It also added support for Apple TV last fall.

Showtime

Price: $11 per month, or $9 per month when purchased through certain services, such as Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Who It’s Best For: Showtime fans. Like HBO Now, this service lets you watch a cable network without the cable. You get all Showtime’s movies, plus original shows such as “Billions,” “Homeland,” and “The Affair.” If you subscribe to Showtime through your cable provider, Showtime Anytime lets you watch Showtime fare on your phone, tablet, and other devices.

Latest News: A new 18-part “Twin Peaks” is coming this spring. Also, Showtime Films is releasing an Eric Clapton documentary, “Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars,” theatrically in 2017. It will hit Showtime in 2018.

Sling TV

Price: Sling Orange costs $20 per month; Sling Blue costs $25 per month; A combined package costs $40 per month. Add-on packs cost $5.

Who It’s Best For: Cord-cutters. With Dish’s Sling TV you don’t get individual shows. You get channels. The basic Orange package comes with about 20 cable offerings, including A&E, Food Network, and TBS but not broadcast TV. It’s also one of only a few ways you can get ESPN without a TV service. Themed add-on packs cost $5 per month, and HBO costs $15 per month.

Latest News: Sling started beta-testing a cloud DVR feature in December, but only for Roku users. It’s now being rolled out to more platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Android TV devices, and Android phones and tablets. Apple support is expected to follow. There’s now also a $100 AirTV box from Sling owner Dish that combines SlingTV channels and free over-the-air broadcasts in one device.

Starz

Price: $9 per month.

Who It’s Best For: Like HBO and Showtime, you can now get Starz without a pay-TV subscription. Content includes shows like “Outlander” and “Power,” plus movies including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Latest News: The Starz streaming service is newly available on DirecTV Now for $8 per month. The much-anticipated series, “American Gods,” based on the Neil Gaiman book, is slated to debut in 2017.

YouTube TV

Price: $35 per month

Who It’s Best For: Cord-cutters looking for another option beyond Sling TV and DirecTV Now. It promises access to live TV from up to 50 providers, including all the major networks. It will also have a nice selection of cable channels—such as Disney, ESPN, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, and USA, and it’s adding AMC soon. It’s missing those from Time Warner (HBO) and Viacom (Comedy Central), though. It does have some regional sports networks, and Showtime and a few other premium channels can be added for an extra monthly fee.

Latest News: YouTube TV is now available in five major metro areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay area. It will support up to three simultaneous users and up to six separate accounts. It also has a cloud DVR—a virtual recorder that stores programs for you on YouTube’s servers—that lets you record and save as many shows as you want for up to nine months before they’re deleted.


Major network programming – totally free with no subscription

– https://www.lifewire.com/watch-free-tv-3482281
– http://corporate.pluto.tv

ALL THIS MADE POSSIBLE WITH HIGH-SPEED INTERNET – * PETERSHAM BROADBAND

02/6/2017

THE OPEN SUBSCRIPTION PERIOD FOR BROADBAND SERVICE IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN
AS SOON AS THE REVIEW OF NECESSARY LEGAL DOCUMENTS HAS BEEN COMPLETED BY
THE ATTORNEYS FOR PETERSHAM AND MATRIX.

While the Selectboard and the Petersham Broadband MLP understand that this
delay is frustrating, our anticipated partnership with Matrix is an
agreement lasting 20 years and beyond, and both parties want to make sure
that final details are completed properly.

AS SOON AS THE CUSTOMER SERVICE CONTRACT HAS BEEN COMPLETED, COPIES WILL
BE MAILED OUT TO EVERY HOUSEHOLD AND WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PICK UP AT THE
LIBRARY, POST OFFICE, COUNTRY STORE & QUABBIN WOODS.

While the open subscription period is scheduled to be available for three
months; your help in achieving the required 270 sign-ups ($250 of the total
$500) during the first 30 days would allow us to shave two months off the
overall construction schedule thus allowing some customers to begin
receiving Broadband service in the late summer/early fall of 2017.

01/24/2017

As required by the Dec 12th 2016 Special Town Meeting vote, residents of
Petersham have been waiting for the results of the State’s request for
proposals from cable companies for the 40 Massachusetts unserved
communities before Petersham moved forward with a pending agreement with
the Matrix Design Group for Broadband services.

On Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI)
announced the results of its process:

Only two qualified proposals had been received in response to their
request. Petersham was one of 32 towns of the 40 unserved communities that
had *NO* qualified offers for Broadband service.

With these results, the way is cleared for the Town to now move forward
with its plan to partner with Matrix who provided their proposal to
Petersham in October 2016 and had been waiting with the town to hear the
results of the State’s efforts.

The agreement with Matrix will make affordable, state-of-the-art, fiber
optic Internet available to all of the residents, students, and businesses
in Petersham within 24 months of the start of the Pole Survey process.

Matrix and Petersham are ready to start the first step (Pole Data Survey )
as soon contracts are signed and with the completion of at least 270
Petersham subscribers.

With this update on the status of the MBI process, the Selectboard, at a
joint meeting with the Broadband Committee on Jan. 24, appointed members to
the Petersham Broadband MLP Board which will replace the Broadband
Committee to facilitate the next phases of the implementation process and
provide oversight of the project. Forming the MLP for this purposes had
occurred with voters’ approval at two previous Town Meetings in 2015.

The Petersham Broadband MLP (made up of individuals from the Broadband
Committee as well as one member of the Selectboard) will move quickly to
work with the Town Treasurer and Town Accountant to setup the Broadband
Escrow Account creating an easy to use system for signing up subscribers.

A public announcement will be made as soon as that payment process has
been completed and the subscription process officially begins.

Although there will be a three month window for subscribers to enroll, if
Petersham is able to sign up 270 subscribers in the first thirty days, the
entire project timeline could be reduced by two months.

On behalf of the Petersham Broadband Committee and the new PBMLP Board, we
thank you for your support as Petersham moves forward to become only the
second of the forty unserved towns to achieve town-wide Broadband
connectivity. The PBMLP Board will be reaching out to residents with
regular updates, please watch for more information in the coming days as
the project moves forward.

 

12/21/2106
On Wednesday the Petersham Broadband Committee, at their regularly
scheduled December meeting, held their long awaited vote and forwarded a
unanimous recommendation to the Selectboard requesting that the Board
formally constitute the Petersham Broadband Municipal Light Plant Board at
their upcoming meeting scheduled for January 17, 2017.

This milestone comes as the Town moves forward towards its goal of
providing true high-speed Broadband availability to every resident, student
and business in Petersham within 24 months.

On Monday December 12th the Town by a near unanimous vote of 299 to 7
agreed to provide $560,000 to fund the necessary pole survey and Make-Ready
work to prepare its utility poles for the installation of fiber- optic
cable.

The Town’s chosen partner in this project, Matrix Design will invest
$1,759,000 to design, build and operate this state of the art fiber-to-the
home network.

It is anticipated that Petersham  will be ready to begin accepting
subscription payments by mid January to be held in a Treasurer’s Escrow
Account until a minimum of 270 subscribers has been reached and network
construction begins in April.

After more than eight years of effort, this will make Petersham just the
second town, among the forty Central and Western Massachusetts unserved
communities, to begin actual fiber-optic network construction.

For weekly project updates please refer to the *Project Blog* coming soon
on the *ConnectingPetersham.com* and at* PetershamCommon.com.*