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Greenfield tech upgrades a vote away

Would be first of three phases

GREENFIELD — If Town Council approves $150,000 on Wednesday night, the town will begin upgrading municipal technology, high-speed Internet and telephone service as a first step in launching its three-step Technology Master Plan.

That plan will eventually lead to the entire town, including residents and businesses, being upgraded.

Greenfield will start by getting new municipal telephones, which are 30 to 40 years old, as well as replacing its decade-old computers.

Town Council will vote on the matter during its meeting which begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the studio in Greenfield Community Television, 393 Main St.

The mayor said the town is seeking funding from the Federal Communications Commission and state to provide about $5 million to see the three-phase project through.

When done, the project will allow the town to provide itself, its schools, its residents and its businesses with high-speed Internet and telephone service, while saving everyone money.

Mayor William Martin said the town doesn’t know how much yet, but there should be a significant savings to all who participate.

“We need to take advantage of the opportunity we have before us,” he said. “We have seven miles of fiber optics going through Greenfield. We can rent space along that seven miles to provide these services.”

Martin said the plan is for the town to stabilize costs and make Internet and telephone service available to everyone in Greenfield.

He said it will happen in phases with the town government’s upgrade happening first. That will cost $150,000.

The second will be for the town to choose data networking speeds, memory, storage, data management, security and data sharing and such.

The final step — Martin is not yet sure about timelines — will have the greatest impact to the community and the greatest cost to the town.

“That will be when we build a low-cost, high-speed ‘last-mile’ broadband infrastructure to support the town’s new IT infrastructure,” he said.

The town, like most cities and towns in the United States, is suffering from a lack of broadband infrastructure and services, said Robert Pyers, the town’s economic development director.

Pyers, who has been working for more than three years with the mayor on the project, said the town will be able to supply Internet to areas of town that haven’t been able to get it in the past and be a choice in other parts of town.

He said where infrastructure and services do exist now, there is a lack of adequate speed and a very high cost for service.

Martin and Pyers said investments in municipal IT and telecommunications resources will have a transformative effect on the town’s economic and community development efforts by drawing new businesses to Greenfield.

Martin said he views broadband infrastructure just as he does water, sewer, roads and schools, which benefit all residents and businesses.

“We understand that voice, data and Internet services are not a luxury, but essential services which stimulate and sustain economic growth and improve the quality of life for our residents and businesses,” said Martin.

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