Many part-time residents have expressed the desire to spend more time at the Lake, but can’t because they lack high-speed internet access. Telecommuting on Mondays or Fridays (or full-time!) isn’t an option for most without high-speed internet access. Fulltime residents have been equally frustrated with slow options — dial up internet or DSL for a subset of Lake residents.
You may have heard about Wired West, and the effort to build out the “last mile” network bringing true high-speed internet access along with digital telephone and television options to the Berkshires. We’re passing along information from Wired West, and ask that you take a few minutes to complete the brief Expression of Interest survey card. This is your opportunity to communicate if you are interested, and assessing potential demand is key milestone for Wired West. Without sufficient demand, it is much more difficult to justify the network build-out. Some residents may also receive a survey card in the mail, although online completion is preferred by Wired West.
“WiredWest is our communities’ chosen solution to the regional problem of inadequate broadband.
In Western Massachusetts, over 40 towns have inadequate access to high-speed internet, while it has become a necessity in today’s digital world. Even those who have broadband access are using outdated technologies that are not robust enough to equip our businesses, students and workers to survive and thrive.
Western Massachusetts towns are creating our own solution to this problem. We’ve created a municipal cooperative of member towns, and are working with state and local organizations to build a financially sustainable, state-of-the-art fiber-optic network to serve everyone. A network that will have the capacity to last for decades to come. And a network that will drive regional economic development, create jobs, improve education and healthcare, and provide a sustainable future for our communities.
You probably have a lot of questions about the details. To find out more about the WiredWest project, please see About Us, FAQ, Project Overview, and how you can help the project here.”
who provides telephone service to the lake?
Landline service today is available only from Verizon. Cellular service is essentially unavailable around Lake Buel; however, a cell tower has been planned and permitted in Monterey near the intersection of Routes 23 and 57 that should provide coverage to many of the Lake residents. Construction has been delayed so let’s hope it is just a temporary delay.
In a post Wired West build out environment, additional telephone options would be available. The proposed model is one with a fiber optic “pipe” owned by Wired West, and services / content offered by third parties. For example, a few towns in Massachusetts own the electric distribution network (wires and poles) within their borders, and on behalf of the residents contract with low cost providers to supply electricity. The result is typically lower utility costs. Getting back to telephone service, Verizon today offers telephone service over their proprietary fiber optic network (“FOIS”) and Comcast offers digital telephone service over their proprietary cable network. Wired West envisions decoupling the distribution and the service / content offerrings, bringing fiber optic technology to less densely populated areas the “for profits” firms eschew. Specific content providers have not yet been determined.
If you haven’t responded yet to the Wired West Support Card campaign, please do so. As the organizers have noted, “The results of this campaign will be used to demonstrate the depth of interest by residents for WiredWest’s services to potential investors.” Without adequate support from us, it will be very difficult to bring much needed broadband service to Monterey and New Marlborough. Current response rates are well below the 50% goal so please do your part, and encourage your neighbors as well. You can respond conveniently online at https://hugo.jf-olm.com/~wiretnet/card.php . Alternatively, cards for mailing are available at both Town Halls, the Southfield Store, the Monterey General Store, the Mill River General Store, and both Libraries.
We should also thank our Wired West representatives Tim Newman (New Marlborough) and Monica Webb (Monterey) for their tireless efforts thus far to bring broadband service to our corner of the Berkshires.