Zipping down the information superhighway
the state and federal governments are spending more than $100 million to bring wired broadband access to the 5 percent of Massachusetts residents who don’t have it and can’t get it.
Contractors are laying out more than 1,300 miles of fiber optic cable in 123 cities and towns from Worcester County westward. Part of the money has also gone to a private nonprofit group, OpenCape, which received $35 million in federal stimulus money, plus $5 million from the state, to plug gaps in the southeastern part of the state.
The work is concentrated in areas that private broadband providers have shunned because the potential customer base is not large enough to support the investment. Contractors have already laid a broadband cable along the 55-mile Interstate 91 corridor from Connecticut to Vermont, providing cheaper access to rural towns such as Sunderland and Deerfield. The project is also expanding service to parts of Springfield and Greenfield that either have no broadband access or substandard access to it.
Dumont also points out the lack of broadband is affecting public safety, since police in 85 Massachusetts cities and towns do not have high-speed Internet providing them instant access to criminal and driving records.
|Source: Massachusetts Broadband Institute. Click the map for a larger view.|