Letter: MBI is botching a successful WiredWest plan
To the editor:
The town of Peru and I helped to create WiredWest along with 21 other Western Mass. towns. I was appointed the delegate from the town to the MBI and to WiredWest. I was the manager of the municipal light plant for Peru. I was elected to the executive board of WiredWest and the chair of its technology committee. I held all of those positions for 5-plus years before moving to warmer weather and to be closer to our children in recent months.
I was instrumental in bringing a high level design and cost estimate to install high-speed fiber to the then-almost 44 towns of WiredWest. I worked closely with the rest of the executive committee on the cost estimates for the operational support, bringing my experience of over 20 years in networks, fiber, IT and 24/7 operations to a realistic cost estimate and supportable operational plant.
Part of that estimate was for me to travel to each and every town to investigate the areas, determine where to put equipment and how to support it effectively. I put on over 6,000 miles in doing so.
My time with the executive committee of WiredWest and the board of directors has left no misunderstanding as to their dedication. None are paid. They have no other agendas in working to wire Western Mass. The Mass Broadband Institute is a state agency that looks to be operating for the betterment of itself and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and not the residents of Western Mass.
By sending direct correspondence to selectmen, town administrators and not to the board of directors of WiredWest is a complete denial of what the towns put together via multiple votes at town meetings per law. This is at the least a slap in the face of all the people, myself included, who have spent thousands of hours for free to bring high-speed Internet to underserved and un-served towns.
So far the MBI has spent over $87 million to connect up a majority of already served facilities via the MBI 123. The costs for connection are so high because it doesn't have the subscriber base.
MBI should have included cabling for every residence and business in the path of where it hung fiber to prevent future make-ready work and increase the subscriber base and income. The make-ready work is the single most expensive cost for the project. The cost to do it right from the beginning would have saved millions to the towns they are now saying they are looking out for.
The residents and businesses of Western Mass. do not need the MBI, they need WiredWest. I am still involved with the effort. It is needed, it will help the economy, it will help our friends and family who do still live in Western Mass.
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