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Cummington Cummington MLP Board

Member Title Phone Term Start Term End
Brenda Arbib
Allan Douglas
Scott Keith
Michael A. Perkins II
Maureen L. Tumenas
Member
Member
Member
Member
Member
413-634-5542
413-634-5372
413-634-5084

413-634-5538
2017
2017
2017
2017
2017
2018
2018
2018
2018
2018

Meeting times: As Needed
Term: Appointed by the Selectboard for 1 year
Compensation: None

 

The Cummington Broadband Committee was formed to research among all options which high speed internet concept would be best for the town.

 

Update 5/7/2017

Cummington Broadband (CBC) Committee Recommendations

Background

The CBB has actively pursued the options available to the town of Cummington. Representatives attended:  

  • Worthington meeting on  Massachusetts General Law 30B related topics state funding, January 27, 2017

  • Wired West, Regional Broadband Solution, January 28, 2017

  • MBI meeting to the obtain input from towns, February 22, 2017

  • Westfield Gas and Electric presentation in Charlemont, March 6, 2017

  • Crocker Communications has addressed our committee on March 8 , 2017

  • Westfield Gas & Electric addressed our committee and selectboard  on April 20, 2017

  • In addition we have been in communication and  met with representatives from neighboring towns, and we have had several meetings with MBI representatives Cornell Robinson and Bill Ennen. 

CBC Recommendation

At our meeting on March 30, 2017, we voted to pursue building a town network, pursuing grant money available through MA HUD, and contracting with Westfield Gas and Electric/Whip City Fiber to build the network.

This decision was based on:

  • town ownership of the network infrastructure

  • affordability

  • ability to provide drops(connection) to all households

  • possibility of reduced pricing through networking with Wired West

 

Westfield Gas and Electric/Whip City Fiber has proposed to partner with towns to design, construct, and operate a municipal internet network. Whip City has said that they would provide design and construction at cost. The town of Cummington will contract with Westfield/ Whip City or Wired West as MLP to MLP. It is anticipated that the 70% of the build would be paid for by the town and 30% would be funded by the construction grant from the state.

 

Whip City has proposed offering 1 Gigabit tier of service for internet.  They are negotiating with Wired West to handle operations for a regional system of town owned networks. This would help decrease the cost and regionalization would positively affect redundancy in the network.  These prices and tiers are all being negotiated.

 

How would we pay for this?

Operations would be paid for by subscribers when the network is built and homes are hooked up. The price would need to cover all ongoing expenses and cover depreciation and debt service.  As all of this is in negotiation at this point, we cannot give concrete figures, but expect the subscribers to pay less than $100/month.

 

Billed to subscribers: At the Wired West meeting in January, we calculated that we would need to add approximately $11-17 a month to the subscriber fee, dependent on take rate and final pricing by the ISP,  to cover a depreciation reserve of $37,388. Infrastructure replacement-depreciation (minimum 3% of build-fiber lasts 20+years, electronics 7 years).

Raise and Appropriate: The debt service could be covered by the tax rate, as we view this as an important utility for our town. Using the latest figures from Wired West the FY22 Debt Service would be 97, 422. This would equal an approximate increase of 0.765/1000 on the tax rate or an average household increase of $15/month.  Alternatively, some of the cost could be added to the monthly bill of each subscriber.  This is still under discussion.

Next Steps

  • Appoint MLP board

    • On the warrant- That the Town vote to set the number of municipal light board members at five citizens of the town, pursuant to the provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws c. 164 sec. 55. And further authorize the Selectboard to appoint said five members until the next annual election and seek special legislation to validate said appointments. Of the five-member elected board, initially one shall be chosen for one year, two for two years, and two for three years, and thereafter the terms shall be for three years. The municipal light board shall have the authority to construct, purchase or lease the municipal light plant in accordance with the vote of the town and to maintain and operate the same.

  • Obtain Green Light Letter

  • Turn in Grant Application

  • Receive grant money from state

  • Sign contract with Whip City

  • Start design process

  • Pole Surveys

 

Where is Wired West in all this?

Cummington is a member of Wired West. We can choose to have WW help run the system once we build it with Westfield G&E. This is not a decision that has been made. Please see WW handouts for more information about all of the work they have been doing  on behalf of member towns over the last year.

 

Update 2/3/2017

We on the Cummington Broadband Committee apologize for not updating this page and getting information out in a more timely manner. However, when the goal posts keep moving, it is hard to decide what information to put on the page. We now feel that the goal posts are finally stabilizing and we can start to make some educated decisions about information that we can bring to the town

We have had meetings with our MBI (Ma Broadband Institute) Project Manager and are going through the MBI Readiness Process. We have chosen to do this because it seems that no matter which broadband solution we decide on this process is the only way we can utilize the money the state allocated to Cummington.

Also we have had meetings with other towns (Ashfield, Charlemont, Plainfield and Windsor) to look at the possibility of a small regional solution. We pursued this because all of the towns except Ashfield realize that none of us could afford this on our own. This has been put on the back burner as all the towns are going through the MBI Readiness process.

More recently MBI put out an RFP for broadband providers to submit proposals for the "Last Mile Grants to Provide Broadband Service to Unserved Towns in Western Massachusetts" to read this click here. We are now awaiting the vetting of these proposals by MBI to see who they approve as vendors that we can use.

The most recent proposal has come from WiredWest which was released on Saturday the 28th of January 2016. You can read the PDF of that presentation here..

We on the Committee are hoping that there is not another goal post move so that we may bring some solid affordable proposals to the Selectboard and the town to consider and then get some fiber on the poles and to our houses.

 

January 28th WiredWest Regional Broadband Solution PDF