Massachusetts Broadband Institute Broadband Planning Assistance Grant Solicitation

Solicitation No. 2015–MBI–01

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (“Mass Tech Collaborative”) is an independent public instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (the “Commonwealth”) chartered to serve as a catalyst for growing its innovation economy.  Mass Tech Collaborative brings together leaders from industry, academia, and government to advance technology-based solutions that lead to economic growth, job creation, and public benefits in Massachusetts.  Mass Tech Collaborative energizes emerging markets in the high-tech sector by filling gaps in the marketplace, connecting key stakeholders, expanding broadband services, conducting critical economic analysis, and providing access to intellectual and financial capital.  Mass Tech Collaborative has three divisions:  the Innovation Institute; the Massachusetts Broadband Institute; and the Massachusetts eHealth Institute.  For additional information about the Mass Tech Collaborative and its programs and initiatives, please visit our website at www.masstech.org.

Mass Tech Collaborative acts as the contracting entity on behalf of its divisions, and will enter into a Broadband Planning Assistance Grant Agreement, substantially in the form attached as Attachment C (the “Agreement”), with any Applicants selected under this Solicitation.  Mass Tech Collaborative reserves the right to amend the form of Agreement at any time before it is executed with an Applicant.  Each Applicant should review the Agreement and must specify any exceptions to the Agreement and make any suggested counterproposal in its Application.  A failure to specify exceptions and/or counterproposals will be deemed an acceptance of the terms of the Agreement, and no subsequent negotiation of any provisions shall be permitted.

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (“MBI”) is the central broadband program for the Commonwealth.  The MBI was created in August 2008 upon the enactment of Chapter 231 of the Acts of 2008, An Act Establishing and Funding the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (the “Broadband Act”).  The primary mission of the MBI is to extend high-speed Internet access to homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices and other public places across the Commonwealth, with a focus on hard-to-serve areas of western and central Massachusetts.  For more information about the MBI and its programs and activities generally, please visit its website at http://broadband.masstech.org.

The MBI has completed deployment of MassBroadband123, an $85 million fiber-optic network that spans more than 1,000 miles across western and central Massachusetts.  This network connects over 120 communities and over 1,100 community anchor institutions within the project footprint.  Of the 123 towns and cities, 79 are served to varying degrees by an incumbent or new cable broadband provider but the remaining 44 towns in the MassBroadband123 footprint are low density, rural areas that do not have an incumbent cable broadband provider and are referred to as “unserved.”  The last mile challenge contemplated in this program is designed to prioritize unserved residents and businesses within this regional footprint.

The Commonwealth has responded to the next phase of the last mile challenge with a $50 Million appropriation of state capital funding (Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2014) enacted in August of 2014 to support the build-out of last mile infrastructure in western Massachusetts.  The MBI’s main objective is to develop solutions to offer broadband access for households and businesses that maximize the impact of limited public resources, leverage other sources of funding (to the extent necessary and appropriate), and promote economic growth in the region.

The MBI is developing a program under which it will disburse or expend up to $40 Million of that appropriation to support design and construction of last mile strategies in 44 predominantly rural Massachusetts towns wholly lacking residential cable broadband access.  (See the towns listed in Table 1 on page 2 below (each a “Town”).  Towns will have the option to decide whether, and in what manner, to participate in one of these last mile strategies.

In order to be in a position to make choices about whether and in what manner to participate in a last mile strategy, Towns or their designated representatives, may apply for financial assistance through this Planning Assistance Solicitation (No. 2015-MBI-01) to obtain grant funding to assist a Town to obtain professional services to perform preliminary marketing or feasibility studies, to obtain legal and financial services, and to obtain professional guidance in deciding whether to participate in the MBI broadband program.  The maximum amount available to or for the benefit of any Town under the current Planning Assistance Solicitation No. 2015-MBI-01 is Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).

Massachusetts Broadband Institute Broadband Planning Assistance Grant Solicitation

Solicitation No. 2015–MBI–01
 

Contact/Questions:                                     Ed Donnelly, donnelly@MassTech.org

RFP Issued:                                                    June 8, 2015

Responses Due:                                            Rolling

Download Application Documents: