WESTBOROUGH – The Baker-Polito Administration announced today a $1.6 million grant to Charter Communications to upgrade and extend broadband access in the unserved communities of Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and West Stockbridge.
As of today, Charter launches Spectrum Internet service to existing customers in these three communities. The Commonwealth grant supports this upgrade of Charter’s existing TV-only cable network to an all-digital network capable of delivering digital television and broadband to roughly 80-90 percent of existing households and businesses in the three communities.
The Commonwealth grant will also support the extension of broadband and digital television service to an estimated 440 households in Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and West Stockbridge that are currently without any broadband or cable television service. The grant from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (or MBI) is being made under the agency’s Last Mile Initiative, which has a goal of bringing broadband access to unserved residents and communities in Western Massachusetts.
“Our administration is committed to engaging communities unserved by broadband, and working collaboratively to deliver reliable, sustainable, and affordable broadband solutions to the residents and businesses of Central and Western Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This partnership with Charter Communications shows our commitment to meeting Last Mile challenges with solutions most relevant to the communities themselves.”
“We are tackling the Last Mile project with a spirit of openness, engagement, and collaboration,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Since June, our new approach to the Last Mile has jump-started progress in Middlefield, Mt. Washington, and now Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and West Stockbridge. We are carrying this momentum forward to meet the needs of unserved towns in Central and Western Massachusetts.”
Charter’s full expansion in Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and West Stockbridge is expected to be completed within 18 months, and once completed, will deliver broadband access to approximately 3,400 residential and commercial premises. Charter expects to offer subscribers a service of 60/4 Mbps and 100/5 Mbps broadband service and triple play bundled packages with voice, video, and data service. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $3,900,000.
“Charter Communications looks forward to working with Governor Baker and MBI to address their goal of bringing sustainable, high-speed broadband service to the un-served areas of western Massachusetts. This partnership will result in 3,400 homes and businesses gaining access for the first time to high-speed broadband service. Charter’s standard broadband speed of 60 Mbps is one of the fastest in the industry and it will provide a critical boost to the Baker Administration’s economic development efforts,” said Catherine Bohigian, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, Charter Communications.
“This grant is a win-win, as it will deliver broadband connectivity to over three thousand residences and businesses, and in a shorter timeframe than any of the alternatives,” stated Peter Larkin, Board Chair of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Last Mile project.
In May, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a new strategic pathway for the Last Mile program, emphasizing a flexible, community-driven decision making process, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
The grant was approved by the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (“MassTech”) in June 2016. The funding for the Last Mile broadband program was enacted under Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2014, the 2014 Information Technology Bond Bill, which provided the MBI with access to state bond authorization for ‘Last Mile’ projects. The MBI has previously approved investments into Last Mile projects in the towns of Mount Washington, Middlefield, Royalston, and Leverett.
A division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI) is working to extend high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices, and other public places across the Commonwealth, allowing for greater participation in the global economy and civic society. The MBI also promotes broadband usage and adoption by residents and small businesses. Learn more at broadband.masstech.org
Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) is a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States. Charter provides a full range of advanced broadband services, including Spectrum TV™ video entertainment programming, Spectrum Internet™ access, and Spectrum Voice™. Spectrum Business™ similarly provides scalable, tailored, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to business organizations, such as business-to-business Internet access, data networking, business telephone, video and music entertainment services, and wireless backhaul. Charter's advertising sales and production services are sold under the Spectrum Reach™ brand. More information about Charter can be found at charter.com.