The federal stimulus funding was awarded to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. The MBI is a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which was awarded the money through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Initiative Program.
The $600,000 will be distributed to four separate Community Development Corporations across the Commonwealth.
The Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation, or PERC, is one of the Community Development Corporations chosen to provide $150,000 in the grant funding to local small businesses.
PERC President Jay Anderson explains…
PERC will provide $60,000 towards technical training and the audits, while the remaining $90,000 will help the small businesses and non-profits purchase equipment, establish economic plans, and connect to broadband internet services, a cost that some businesses, particularly in rural areas, would not normally be able to afford. Jay Anderson continues providing this grant funding to hook up eligible small businesses is part of PERC’s development goals
The MBI is currently also in the process of establishing the MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic internet networking throughout the state. MBI Director Judy DuMont said that all of the efforts that the state and federal government make to enhance broadband access in Western Massachusetts, all are big steps in helping to close what she calls the “digital divide”.
Aside from the physical installation and establishment of the Mass Broadband 123 network, which is expected to be completed in June of 2013, DuMont said that bringing small businesses and residents to the high-speed fiber-optic network is the next step in the process.