Broadband dispute requires sorting out

To the editor:

For over a year now great hopes have been placed with WiredWest to bring high-speed Internet to Western Massachusetts. This summer the town of Otis decided against going along with WiredWest in favor of going it alone. A quiet storm has been brewing ever since over the project's details, and it has been gathering strength with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute's recent position over the details of ownership of the network.

We have been inundated with a barrage of information, claims, and counter claims by the various sides, with no way to sort it out. The Dec. 7 op-ed page column by Steve Nelson of WiredWest against MBI is the most recent salvo, characterizing the conflict as a political power grab by the state's Eastern establishment against Western Massachusetts.

However, the issue cannot thus be so easily dismissed. There are numerous substantive, complex aspects to examine, sort out, and analyze: technical, managerial, administrative and economic.

Until now, The Eagle has been sitting on the sidelines, limiting its coverage to reports on the various town meetings. Yet, The Eagle is the one and only community institution capable of shedding factual, impartial light on this critical large project. It has the talent and the resources to conduct some in-depth coverage by its expert and talented reporters. It is the hope of your readers that The Eagle will rise to the challenge.

Sol S. Shalit, West Stockbridge