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Cummington Municipal Light Plant

MLP Board News Notices and Updates

Update 9/29/2019 - MLP Hiccup

MLP Hiccup

We have a change in plans since the 3 informational meetings we held this summer. We mentioned in those meetings there was a possibility that some of what was said could change. Well that has happened.

We are going back and reviewing our “Drop Policy” of full payment by the MLP. We might not be able to pay all costs all the way to the modem for everyone. This has been very disappointing for us and we are still trying to find a way to make this happen. As soon as a decision on “Drop Policy” is made we will announce it and continue to move forward.

There is also a change in the plan of digging all the underground connections that would have required it before the ground freezes. A glimmer of hope that this could still happen is still out there but it will more than likely take place next Spring/Summer.

On the positive side the “hub or rack room” in the Berkshire Trail Building is moving along very well. Alterations to the room are completed. The electrical sub panels and generator switch will be finished. The HVAC for the room will be installed and we will be ready for WG+E to begin the installation of the fiber racks shortly.

As I said in those meetings a lot of the installation of our network was dependent upon the “Make Ready Work” being done by Verizon and Eversource. I explained in the meetings that that was a moving target. Well, the target moved back. Verizon is now scheduled to be finished by 12/6/19. Our contractor for putting up the backbone fiber can’t start until they are completed the “Make Ready” on their poles. However, if we have a mild winter the backbone fiber could be ahead of schedule and we could start subscriber connections in the Spring.

Reading through this I notice a lot of could, maybe, hope and other indefinite words. I have conversed with many of the other MLP Managers around us and they are all experiencing the same delays and setbacks. It seems that some of the contractors are finding that working in the Hilltowns is not as easy as the flatlands. We don’t all have 150 foot driveways.

The MLP Board and myself are pushing as hard as we can but it’s a big rock and it’s all uphill.

Stay tuned!

Update 2/24/2019 - Download PDF Handout

The Handout for Download

Use this link to download the trifold that we have distributed at spots in town. - PDF Handout

Update 6/17/2018 - Download PDF Handout

The Handout for Download

Use this link to download the trifold that we have been giving at the Transfer Station - PDF Handout

Update 6/10/2018 - for Transfer Station Visits

Handouts at Transfer Station & Information at Safety Complex

Saturday June 30th (rescheduled from June 23rd) the MLP Board will be at the Transfer Station from 7AM to 11AM handing out information pamphlets. From 9AM to 11AM there will also be MLP Board members at the Safety Complex displaying the fiber system map. Stop by with questions and to confirm we have your home mapped correctly.

NOTE, this has been rescheduled from June 23rd. So, change your calendar.

If you have questions please contact us at mlpmanager@cummington-ma.gov

Update 06/8/18

Handouts at Transfer Station & Information at Safety Complex

Saturday June 9th & 23rd the MLP Board will be at the Transfer Station from 7AM to 11AM handing out information pamphlets. From 9AM to 11AM there will also be MLP Board members at the Safety Complex displaying the fiber system map. Stop by with questions and to confirm we have your home mapped correctly. Any questions contact us at mlpmanager@cummington-ma.gov

Update 08/25/17

CUMMINGTON MUNICIPAL LIGHT PLANT(MLP) RECEIVES MONEY TO START FIBER NETWORK

The Cummington Municipal Light Plant(MLP), has received the initial payment of the $390,000 to begin the make ready process to build the town’s broadband network. We have signed a contract with Whip City of Westfield Gas and Electric, (WG&E). Monday September 11, the MLP board will meet with WG&E in Cummington, for the official kick off and to begin the town pole survey. So when you see workers on the roads of Cummington or coming up your driveway, welcome them as we are finally off and running! Allan Douglas, is the town's MLP manager, and may be contacted at mlpmanager@cummington-ma.gov.

Update 5/7/2017

Background on activity to the above date

MLP BOARD 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

UPDATE

Cummington has been awarded a grant of $840,000 from Mass EOHED (Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development). We have received the initial outlay of $390,000 to begin the design and engineering process.

Cummington MLP board has contracted with Westfield/ Whip City. 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

Kickoff Meeting with Westfield Gas and Electric
Start design and engineering process
Pole Surveys
Continue communication and meetings with neighboring hilltowns