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Leverett hires N.J. co.  to build, maintain  fiber-optic network

LEVERETT — Millennium Communications Group of East Hanover, N.J., has been awarded the $2.27 million contract to build and maintain Leverett’s planned fiber-optic network, beating out eight other companies that responded to an invitation for bids issued by the town on May 15.

At $2,275,731, Millennium was the lowest bidder to respond to the invitation and was invited to the town on June 13 to clarify some of the points in its bid package.

According to Selectboard member Peter d’Errico, the Broadband Committee had previously recommended giving the contract to Florida-based company G4S, but due to technical problems with the bid forms, the town was ordered by the state attorney general’s office to issue a new invitation.

Funding for the network will come from a $3.6 million municipal bond, which d’Errico said was approved by 90 percent of the voters at the annual town meeting one year ago.

D’Errico said parts of the project are already under way, with walks planned to identify areas where new utility poles will need to be installed. He said the network will greatly increase the quality of telecommunications service available to Leverett.

“When this is up and running, Leverett’s going to have state-of-the-art, worldwide telecommunications capability,” d’Errico said. “It’s comparable service to what Google is providing in Kansas City, and it means that Leverett will also become a desirable place for all kinds of people who work in the mediums that require that level of technology. I see it as having economic benefits for the town, cultural benefits for the town and when you add in things like telemedicine, it means that it’s more than lifestyle; it’s quality of life.”

The network will connect directly to the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative’s “middle-mile” network, and is expected to be finished by December 2014. According to Chris Lynch, a senior account manager with Millennium, the company is “very confident” that they can meet that deadline.

“It’s fantastic. We’re very excited,” said Millennium’s senior project manager, Joe Decker, of being awarded the contract. “This is what we do: bring fiber to the home. I’m excited not only for our company, but equally excited for the residents, to finally get them to have proper service and bring the town into the 21st century.”

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