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Leverett begins looking for broadband provider

LEVERETT — The Leverett Broadband Committee has begun its search for a service provider to supply Internet and telephone service to its LeverettNet broadband network project, which will soon be constructed.

According to Selectboard and Broadband Committee member Peter d’Errico, the provider will be responsible for customer service, installation, billing and troubleshooting for residents who connect to the network.

The committee will interview and evaluate up to five companies over the course of the next month. Representatives for the first candidate, Crocker Communications of Springfield, met with the committee Jan. 30.

Other candidates include OTT Communications of New Gloucester, Maine and Slic Network Solutions of Nicholville, N.Y. DSCI Corp. of Waltham and Cornerstone Telephone Co. of Troy, N.Y., have not yet confirmed meeting dates with the committee.

The candidates will be evaluated for their suitability in a number of areas, including company history, customer service, billing and security and the ability of their systems to handle the increased load from the Leverett network.

They will also be judged on other types of services they may provide beyond Internet and telephone.

According to d’Errico, the installation of the network is in the “make ready” phase, in which Verizon and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. are surveying and preparing the town’s utility poles to be fitted with fiber optic cables. The cables will be installed by Millennium Communications Group of East Hanover, N.J.

When completed, the project will bring high-speed Internet access to the town, which currently relies on dial-up and satellite connections.

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