Broadband for All in Massachusetts

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(Image Courtesy of Axia MassBroadband 123)

Massachusetts intends to achieve total broadband access in all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth, thanks to today’s announcement by the Baker-Polito Administration to give $50 million in existing capital funding to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI).

MBI is the state entity designated to extend high-speed Internet access to homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices, and other public places across the Commonwealth. It is a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

“Providing high-speed broadband access to all cities and towns is not only a matter of basic fairness, but it is an essential part of building stronger communities and a stronger economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker, adding that “high-speed broadband service is critical in today’s digital world.”

Currently, 45 towns in western Massachusetts lack residential cable or broadband access, relying instead upon DSL or dial-up technologies. And other Massachusetts towns have high-speed Internet access in just part of the town, not the entire community.

“With this funding, we are one step closer toward closing the digital divide that continues to hinder residents and businesses in Western Massachusetts.” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

The funds will be used to catalyze additional municipal and private investment, and will support innovative, sustainable, locally-led projects.

“Despite the current budget deficit, the Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to investing in our regional economies, and creating partnerships that empower communities to be great,” said Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

“I applaud Governor Baker’s decision to release these funds,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “We are fully committed to creating long promised access to high speed internet for the businesses, students, and residents of our region.”

“This is the beginning of the end of the digital divide in western Massachusetts,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing. “Connecting all of our residents will create jobs and help the region’s economy thrive.”

“Our rural communities must have high-speed broadband in order to function in the modern world and to compete in today’s economy,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. The commitment “moves us significantly closer to building the network and finishing the job.”

Eric Nakajima, Director of MBI, thanked the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting efforts to “deliver high-speed broadband connections to the households and businesses in unserved areas of Massachusetts. This funding will help us make the construction of these ‘Last Mile’ networks a reality.”

Learn more about Massachusetts Broadband Institute here.