With quiet fanfare, Sprint announced last month that their customers using newer cell phones (iPhone 5c and up, and certain Android phones) would be able to use their phones for WiFi calling. What this means is that if you are a Sprint customer in a Wi-Fi zone, you can initiate and receive calls EVEN IF THERE IS NO SPRINT SIGNAL!!! Designed primarily to address dead zones in buildings and basements, for us Lake Buel residents it suddenly means additional cell service along Lake Buel provided you have WiFi in your home.
I tested it out yesterday and it worked well. For the telecom geeks out there, my home internet is via an AT&T mobile MiFi unit tapping into the new Monterey cell tower along route 23. AT&T runs on the GSM mobile technology; Sprint and Verizon run on the competing CDMA technology. So the call I made on an ‘incompatible’ CDMA Sprint iPhone 6 went out through an AT&T GSM tower! Pretty cool (for some people at least!)
Verizon doesn’t not currently allow WiFi calling, and has indicated no immediate plans to offer it. If you’re a Sprint customer though, full details on how to enable it are available on the Sprint site. Also of note is WiFi calls do not count against any minute caps on the Sprint plans.
It’s been years in development, and Wired West is at a critical stage. The municipal coop to bring fiber based broadband (internet, television, and telephone service) to the under-served towns in Western Massachusetts including New Marlborough and Monterey needs your support to move forward.
It’s essentially a two-step process before build out can occur: 1) each town must have at least 40% of its households express a statement of interest and submit a refundable $49 deposit and 2) each town must vote on issuing a municipal “construction” bond to build out the network with a 2/3 majority needed to pass. Why 40%? Because at the 40% threshold, the business model projects that the Wired West subscribers will generate sufficient revenue to cover operating costs and payback the construction bonds.
If you have not signed-up and are interested, visit this site soon: https://register.wiredwest.net/ . Neither town has reached the 40% target as of April 15, 2015.
Let’s also acknowledge the tireless work of our Board of Selectmen appointed reps to Wired West, Monica Webb (Monterey) and Tim Newman (NM) who have shepherded the process so far. Let’s now do our part to sign up and make telecommuting from the beautiful shores of Lake Buel a viable option!
Read more about Wired West at www.wiredwest.net
Boston Globe article (4/5/2015) about Wired West: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/04/04/time-for-western-mass-get-broadband-speed/Lqo2Ia5tn07lM52PXEbCyL/story.html?comments=all&sort=NEWEST_CREATE_DT
Berkshire Eagle Editorial from May 3, 2015
The weather cooperated for a beautiful Labor Day weekend and a wonderful fireworks display over Lake Buel on Saturday evening. Thanks to Paul Schnaittacher for this incredible photo!
Feel free to use without asking permission: (cc) CreativeCommons: attribute it and share-alike.
It’s that time of year again for the Annual Lake Buel Restoration / Preservation District Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday May 24th at the United Church of Christ Meeting House (lower level room) located at 449 Main Road in Monterey. Please attend in person or send in your proxy statement since no business can be transacted without a quorum of district proprietors. If you are planning to attend in person, please arrive early to allow sufficient time for attendee and proxy registration and quorum calculation. The doors will open at 9:30 AM.
As many of you know, Dave Lewis passed away last year. Several residents have inquired whether the fireworks company he was so closely identified with would continue. The good news is it will, and subject to funding approval at the upcoming District meeting on May 24th, Berkshire Fireworks will once again provide a glorious display over Labor Day weekend.
Assuming you are one of us who longs for the cell phone service and the associated option for internet connectivity. For over a year, I have glanced up the hill at the intersection of Pixley (Rt 57) and Main Roads (Rt 23) in Monterey, only to be disappointed by what appears to be a tall silver flag pole. What is eventually going to be the first cell phone tower in Monterey has been in the works for two years, with only hearsay stories about numerous delays and no one committing to a “go live” date after the Autumn 2012 target came and went. Discovery at the Monterey Second Home Owners annual meeting in August that new building permits had been issued to AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile only heightened speculation.
Well, the past weekend, I noticed a set of mounting brackets have been installed at the top! Progress we can see! Could it be that by Columbus Day we might actually have cell phone service?