Rowe to self-finance broadband

  • The town of Rowe is hoping to be among the next group of towns in line for broadband. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/12/2016 9:58:40 PM

ROWE — Rowe is hoping to be among the next group of towns in line for the state’s last-mile broadband project —  and it already has the money for its build-out.

On Thursday, the town’s Selectmen and Finance Committee unanimously agreed to “self-finance” the town’s $860,000 portion of its projected broadband costs, using money from the town’s “free cash” reserves and stabilization funds.

Selectmen’s Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson said the town has enough money in its reserves to pay for it. Spending the town’s own money will save the town about $675,000 over 17 years by avoiding costs like a financial adviser, bond counsel, annual audits, debt service and underwriter’s fee for a municipal bond.

Wilson said the town is completing its “Readiness Assessment” form for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which has to approve towns’ plans before releasing grant money. Wilson said Rowe is planning to use MBI’s professional services to design and oversee the buildout, so that the town will qualify for its full state Internet Technology grant of $440,000 for design, engineering and build-out construction. Wilson said she is also looking into grant programs for rural broadband build-out.

Although Rowe is a town of only 360 residents, its annual receipts are about $4.2 million, according to the state Department of Revenue. Most of this revenue comes from taxes paid by the Bear Swamp hydroelectric facility and by the decommissioned Yankee Atomic Nuclear Power Plant.




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