Shelburne seeks 100% broadband coverage

Recorder Staff
Published: 1/9/2018 10:18:07 PM

SHELBURNE — At least 96 percent of the town is scheduled to have broadband access through Comcast by August, but Cable and Broadband Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Duffy and others are searching for economical ways to bring access to that last 4 percent — about 22 homes on the north border of town.

Duffy told the Selectboard Monday that Comcast’s estimate for reaching the last households would cost another $148,000 and require some wiring in Colrain, which isn’t served by Comcast. But if those remaining homes could have broadband access through Colrain’s fiberoptic network, the construction cost for the Shelburne spur would cost about $85,000, according to Westfield Gas & Electric/Whip City Fiber, which is building the Colrain network.

Duffy said the two towns would have to sign an intergovernmental agreement, and the Shelburne homes on that network would pay Internet user fees to Colrain. Duffy is exploring whether the state’s Last Mile broadband program would pay for one-third of the $85,000 it would cost to build the Shelburne spur. He pointed out that the state is paying about one-third the cost for the fiberoptic networks being built for the towns that don’t have Comcast.

Duffy told selectmen the cable committee may propose an article on the annual town meeting warrant to pay for at least part of the cost to make those homes accessible, adding, “$85,000 looks like the worst-case scenario.”


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