Charlemont broadband meeting set for Wednesday

Recorder Staff
Sunday, July 16, 2017

CHARLEMONT — With its broadband grant award from the state and a utility pole survey scheduled for next month, town officials are hosting two information sessions about town broadband plans at the Hawlemont Regional School.

The first information session is set for Wednesday, July 19, at 7 p.m. A second session will be held at a date to be announced.

According to the town’s (MLP) broadband manager Robert Hansacker, the town recently received a $430,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the design and engineering of a townwide fiber optic network.

“The planned network will be able to reach all homes and businesses in the town,” he said.

Westfield Gas and Electric has been hired to do the engineering design and consulting services. Besides providing utilities to Westfield for more than a century, the utility company also has “MLP” (Municipal Lighting Plant) status, and has provided high-speed internet to municipal buildings in Westfield for over 20 years, according to Handsaker.

The company also has been building fiber optic networks to Westfield area homes since 2015.

The town will be starting its utility pole survey on Aug. 22, with surveyors from Prevision Valley Communications, a Vermont company.

The resulting information will be used by Westfield Gas and Electric to create Charlemont’s fiber network design and provide firm cost estimates for the project.

The information session will give residents a chance to ask questions about the utility pole survey and the network design process.

Handsacker said the surveyors will be mapping all the utility routes, measuring the poles and the distances between poles.