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Montague internet users need to be heard


Sunday, April 30, 2017

In the “My Turn” column dated March 22, by Dan Kelley, the GCET general manager writes, “It is Mayor William Martin’s idea to form GCET, a municipal internet provider, and back in 2011 he defined its future mission: ‘To provide every resident and business with the bandwidth they need, on any device, whatever their location, at no cost to taxpayers.’ In November of 2015, 82.5 percent of Greenfield voters agreed. In April of 2016, the Town Council backed the idea unanimously. Now GCET is hard at work making this vision a reality.”

There are 3,000 internet consumers in the town of Montague that need to be heard. The only consumer protection regarding issues such as net neutrality, the intrusion on your privacy, the selling of your personal information without your knowledge or consent, unfair billing practices, and the list goes on, is with competition. The best competition is a municipal internet provider.

Dan Kelley writes further, “GCET is a true community enterprise: we are here to serve you. We will bring broadband to the neighborhoods that do not have it; we intend to offer lower cost and better service to those underserved by incumbent providers; to bring education and awareness to schools and seniors; to help improve the efficiency of government; to provide access and information to emergency response personnel; and to support existing, relocating, and start-up businesses by getting them the speed and reliability they need to compete.”

At the Montague special town meeting of May 7, 2016, town meeting members passed Article 7 that “the town conduct the second vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to take all necessary and appropriate action to establish and to maintain ... a municipal lighting plant for all purposes allowable under the laws of the commonwealth, including without limitation the operation of a telecommunications system, construction of a fiber optic network, and any related services.”

Now is the time for the Montague Selectboard to formally initiate a collaboration with our sister town of Greenfield so we, too, can benefit from all their excellent work. It is a simple but vital step toward securing the future of our community.

Charles Kelley

Montague town meeting member