State Senate OKs broadband money

The state Senate on Thursday passed a $50 million Information Technology bond bill which to help the Massachusetts Broadband Institute develop “last mile” broadband service.

“Securing broadband access for every address in my district that wishes to have it has been a top priority since 2007,” said Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, in announcing the passage, which he credited to support of legislative delegation from around western Massachusetts. “It is almost incomprehensible to believe that in 2007 there were 32 communities with absolutely no access to high speed Internet in western and central Massachusetts. ... Today, due to the efforts of the MBI, there are no remaining unserved communities.”

Downing said he hopes authorization of the bond, following on the heels of its approval in House, will help move the state to a goal of universal access in three years.

The funding provided would be a fraction of the cost of building out the entire network for that service but has been promoted by Gov. Deval Patrick to help move the state toward building “last-mile” networks in unserved and underserved areas.

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