Broadband: Grant Received and Design Underway!

Grant for Broadband Network Received

Charlemont has received $960,000 from a special state grant program for building a fiber-optic network!

Fiber Optic Network Design

With the state grant funding, the town will be assessing the costs of the project and developing a design for the network. We will be working with our selected vendor, Westfield Gas + Electric, to create a design that can be used for a competitive bid process for this major infrastructure initiative. Taking this initial design step does not obligate the town to build a network but will give us a clear idea of the full costs associated with this project. No Charlemont taxes will be expended during the design and bid phase.

Pole Survey

The first step is to survey each utility pole that might be used in the fiber optic network. This "pole survey" will begin on August 7 and is expected to continue through the month of August. 

The process of a pole survey involves a survey crew driving to each utility pole n Charlemont and taking measurements and photos of the utility pole. At each residence, the crew will take a measurement to estimate the distance from the last pole to the home. 

Two information sessions will be held to answer any questions about the pole survey, conducted by a firm that specializes in collecting this utility pole data, Precision Valley Communications. 

Related News

WiredWest Refunds

Thanks so much for signing up for WiredWest broadband internet service last year to help us make our required 40% commitment for participation in the cooperative.  Recent announcements from WiredWest and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) have confirmed that WiredWest will not be building a multi-town fiber network. WiredWest may still be chosen by the towns to serve as a network operator or ISP, but each town must first fund and build their own network. This is disappointing to many of the small towns who, like Charlemont, saw a cooperative multi-town project as the best and most affordable option. All of the current options being explored are expected to cost more than $49.00/ month.

The Broadband Committee is recommending leaving these deposits with Wired West at this time because they may be the best choice for network operator. For residents who would like a refund, the instructions for requesting a refund can be found on the WiredWest website ( http://wiredwest.net/campaign/refunds/ ) and the instructions are included here for convenience.

We at WiredWest have pledged to return customer deposits with interest upon request.  In order to fulfill the legal requirement to have funds removed from the escrow account where the deposites are now held, we must hear from you directly and in writing.  Email does not satisfy this requirement.

Please mail a written, signed request to:

WiredWest

Old Courthouse

99 Main Street

Northampton, MA 01060

Include the name and service address used when your deposit was originally made.  You should expect to receive your refund with interest within 2-3 weeks of our receiving your written request.

The broadband committee have sample letters available. If you received support from a neighbor, an employer, or the fiber or rental fund, please return your deposit to these folks once received.  We are deeply appreciative of the people and organizations that have supported the subscription campaign. 

Sample letters:

Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CharlemontFiber

Additional Information