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Letter: MBI rule flawed

I was sad to read your article “A little broadband can hurt” on July 10. Representatives of WiredWest are telling Shelburne and Buckland that they will not get any help from the state broadband fund because parts of the towns already have some broadband access. They laid the blame on MBI, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which controls the $40 million which is supposed to provide the “last mile” of fiber optic cable to unserved and under-served towns.

The rule of the MBI is flawed and illegal.

It is flawed to throw out a whole town from the process because a segment of the town already has some access. The remainder of the town is just as un-served as any other Wired West town.

The ruling is also illegal, and a little background provided here shows that MBI has no right to exclude un-served portions of towns.

Gov. Deval Patrick created the Massachusetts Broadband Institute when he signed H4864, the Broadband Act, on August 4, 2008. This law established MBI as a new division within MTC, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

The law required the MTC to “establish an institute for investment in broadband infrastructure in the commonwealth, to be known as the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. The purpose of the institute shall be to achieve the deployment of affordable and ubiquitous broadband access across the commonwealth. The objectives of the institute shall include: (i) assessing and improving broadband access conditions in communities that have no access or limited or insufficient access to broadband; (ii) promoting robust broadband access for... public safety, health and education, (iii) promoting increased availability of, and competition for, broadband access ...”

The selectmen of Buckland and Shelburne should quickly remind MBI and their bosses at MTC of their flawed logic, and failing that, a well-placed restraining order should find a judge to remind MBI that H4864 is the law for all parts of all towns.

JIM WAGENER

Buckland

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