MBI – Last Mile Program Guidelines for Unserved Towns.

For those of you who do not know MBI’s program goal is “to support towns in developing affordable, sustainable broadband expansion projects”, which also includes an allocation of funds to help the town of Montgomery pay for a broadband solution as well as plan the build.  They have been through a couple reorganizations recently and our committee was excited to hear about their new plan below.

“To achieve our goal we are charting a new course that recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the unserved towns in Western Massachusetts.  The complexities involved with attempting to build one comprehensive, sustainable regional solution have resulted in a delay that can not continue any longer.  MBI will therefore be moving to a more flexible approach that will help all unserved towns to achieve broadband access by allowing for a range of project models, including multi-town collaborations, locally-owned networks, and industry partnerships.  MBI will support a range of technology and operational choices as long as they meet baseline speed, affordability, and sustainability standards.”  

Since the release of MBI’s “new course”, our goal as a committee is to work with our new primary MBI contact to ramp up the planning process.  The first step is to fill out the “2016 Readiness Request Form” and submit to MBI.  You can access it on our town website (http://www.montgomeryma.gov/boards-commissions/broadband) under Broadband News.  The next step is to work with our MBI contact to send out RFIs (Request for Interest) to all possible vendors in our area that provide broadband services.  We are confident MBI can point us to better contacts to work with in some cases where we have not had much luck.  They may also identify vendors we have not found during our research given their industry experience.  Most importantly, the RFI we get back will give our town a realistic picture of who is even interested in taking us on as a customer.

Information on the program guidelines:  http://broadband.masstech.org/building-networks/last-mile/program-unserved-towns

2016 Readiness Request Form:  http://broadband.masstech.org/sites/mbi/files/documents/building-the-network/last-mile-readiness-request-form.docx