Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, is continuing support for a broadband initiative started under former Democratic governor Deval Patrick. The state is releasing $50 million of previously approved capital funding to expand internet connectivity in western Massachusetts.
The so-called Last Mile of the MassBroadband 123 network is expected to connect more than 40 underserved communities with fiber internet. At varying costs, interested towns can partner with commercial providers and groups like Wired West to connect using state money to support projects and leverage investments. Democratic State Senator Ben Downing represents many of those areas.
“We believe that working together with those partners we can present the options before the communities, let them know what the cost is and what they need to do to be able to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Downing.
Nearly $100 million of state and federal money has already been invested in the commonwealth’s 1,200-mile fiber-optic network, which was supposed to be complete by 2011.