On March 14, the Baker-Polito Administration with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) issued a joint letter to participating towns supporting the concept of “last mile” broadband projects. This effectively signaled the end to the Governor’s months-long “pause” on the broadband project.

Our participation in a May petition to the Governor and other political action paid off in a clear directive from the governor for the project to begin. New Salem was chosen as one of the six first round towns.

As it has been MBI’s policy not to fund a shared regional ownership, all towns must build and own their network. In response, WiredWest has developed an alternate plan to regionalize management, maintenance and a shared Internet Service Provider to comport with state guidelines and benefit from a regional operations model – but not ownership.

Members of the Broadband Committee, Selectboard, Finance Committee, and the Town Clerk have been working since June with MBI and the State on a process to assess New Salem’s financial viability to own and operate a sustainable broadband network. We are pleased that MBI is assisting us in these efforts and that WiredWest is providing advice and support as we move through this process.

We completed our town readiness profile assessing financial viability and received our “green light” letter from the State and Bond Counsel in August.

In September, we received our final approval from MBI and can proceed with the preliminary step of the construction project, which is a pole survey.

New Salem is scheduled for pole surveying to begin on November 13. This is expected to take four to five weeks to complete and is paid for entirely by funds from MBI. You may see workers and trucks marked “Osmose” along town roads during this time.

Further details of our plans will be laid out through additional communication and informational sessions in the coming months. We do not want to miss this chance to bring broadband to New Salem, as it will not come around again.

— The New Salem Broadband Committee