Second phase of Otis' fiber-optic network buildout slated for July 9 start

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OTIS — Construction to install the second phase of internet fiber-optics will begin July 9, according to Selectman William Hiller.

High-speed broadband internet service already has been installed to at least 75 homes during first phase of a 10-phase plan. The town has received 762 applications for the internet service, he said.

Otis is working with Westfield Gas + Electric's Whip City Fiber unit to build a system that will provide gigabit-speed downloads to all customers.

Last week, Verizon and Eversource gave the town approval for phase two and three, Hiller said.

Phase two will include houses east of the Otis firehouse, down Reservoir Road and to the area of White Lily Pond, according to Hiller, who expects it to take about four to six weeks of groundwork before Whip City can connect about three homes a day to the service.

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Phase three will include homes on the backside of the reservoir, which might take a bit longer because the area is broken up, he said.

While the project is moving along, Hiller said, the town is not yet in the homestretch.

"We hope that they'll continue to approve the phases as we get ready, but there is no guarantee of that."

Otis received state grants through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. But its own residents are paying a large share of the project's cost.

The system will run along 80 road miles and seek to connect 1,687 premises, according to figures supplied by the MBI. In May 2017, the state expanded its grant to Otis, adding more than $550,000 to an earlier construction allotment. The network is expected to cost nearly $5 million

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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