Will broadband give me cell phone reception at my home?  Regular cell service is not provided via the network; that’s an entirely different technology. However, some cell phones allow calls to be made via an internet connection, and it is possible to purchase devices for personal use that allow cellular connections to be made via internet connections. However, that is not part of the service that will be provided via the project.

Is there an email address that I can send a signed .pdf of the Residential Access Agreement to for our property?   Please send all correspondence to:       Attn. Robert Lichter,  Alford Municipal Light Plant,  5 Alford Center Rd.,  Alford, MA 01230, or email completed forms to:  rlichter@townofalford.org

Will the town's MLP would be connected up to the state's fiber optic network? Is this something that is scheduled?    The connection to the fiber backbone is part of the Alford fiber-to-the home project. The physical connection is part of the installation of the fiber runs along the existing poles. The service connection will follow thereafter by the Internet Service Provider. That cannot be scheduled until a service provider has been identified and contracted with, and we know when the fiber installation is likely to be completed. As each of these milestones is achieved, we will keep the community informed. As noted at the May 6 meeting, we hope to have the service in place by about this time next year.

If we sign the FDAA and the fiber drop is installed, do we still have the option NOT to connect to the new broadband system? Having the fiber drop installed does not obligate the homeowner to subscribe to the Internet service. Subscription to the Internet service will be contracted in separate agreement. 

What is the policy toward Net Neutrality for the choice of Network Operator and Internet Service Provider for Alford ?   The Alford Municipal Lighting Plant (MLP) generally supports the goals of Net Neutrality. The MLP intends to provide Gigabit internet service to Town residents without bias regarding content or “speed lanes.” The exact details of how the Internet Service Provider (ISP) contract will read are still being developed. None of the ISPs being considered are content providers, so “net neutrality” is not expected to be an issue. One should note, however, that any rules or legislation addressing “net neutrality” are ultimately Federal issues, which must be complied with.

How will the new system compare with for example with the high speed internet service from Verizon?    The Alford MLP intends to provide nominal “Gigabit" internet access. Actual speeds will vary somewhat depending on fluctuations in demand. To our knowledge, the only internet service available from Verizon in parts of Alford is a “DSL’ product. You can run a free speed test to get a performance comparison. One site that offers this is http://beta.speedtest.net/. The speed of the service to be provided will be far greater than DSL.

What is the projected monthly cost per household for new service?   Costs are not firm yet since we have not selected an Internet Service provider (ISP) but the Alford MLP is committed to providing true Gigabit performance at the most affordable cost possible. It is anticipated that most customers will be able to receive internet and phone service for a similar cost to what they are presently spending for their existing Verizon land line phone and currently available internet service such as Wispring, DISH or DirectTV satellite.

Do you know approximately when the contractor will visit the property and do we need to be there?   There was an initial visit to Alford properties by the design-engineering firm (CTC Technologies) in the May-June time frame. The owners did not need to be present at that time since the field engineer was only verifying existing conditions and planning the fiber drops based on how the property is provided with telephone and electrical services. This involved visual inspections and measurements.

Who will be providing the internet service?  Will a bundled service (TV/Internet) be offered?     A second visit will occur when the installation contractor installs the fiber drop to the premise later in the year. Again, it is not necessary that the owner be present but the MLP will need the signed Property Access Form prior to any actual installation. If there are any unusual conditions or customer requirements the property owner will want to meet with the installation contractor to make sure they are resolved prior to installation. The schedule for visits will be developed.

What is an MLP?  A town which has established or votes to establish a gas or electric plant may elect a municipal light board consisting of either three or five citizens of the town, each for a term of three years. Of the three-member board, initially one shall be chosen for one year, one for two years, and one for three years, and at each annual meeting thereafter one for a term of three years. Of the five-member board, initially one shall be chosen for one year, two for two years and two for three years and thereafter, the terms shall be for three years. The municipal light board shall have authority to construct, purchase or lease a gas or electric plant, or establish a broadband network in accordance with the vote of the town and to maintain and operate the same. Further reference: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXII/Chapter164/Section36

What is the role of MLP Manager?    The language of the law states: The general role and responsibility of this manager is to oversee the network’s management, administration and operation. Further guidelines: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXII/Chapter164/Section56

What are Open Meeting Law and the Conflict-of-interest Law?     The Open Meeting Law defines deliberation as “an oral or written communication through any medium, including electronic mail, between or among a quorum of a public body on any public business within its jurisdiction.”  Distribution of a meeting agenda, scheduling or procedural information, or reports or documents that may be discussed at a meeting is often helpful to public body members when preparing for upcoming meetings.  These types of communications generally will not constitute deliberation, provided that, when these materials are distributed, no member of the public body expresses an opinion on matters within the body’s jurisdiction.  Additionally, certain communications that may otherwise be considered deliberation are specifically exempt by statute from the definition of deliberation (for example, discussion of the recess and continuance of a Town Meeting pursuant to G.L. c. 39, § 10A(a) is not deliberation).  http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/attorney-generals-open-meeting-law-guide.html

What constitutes a deliberation?  To be a deliberation, the communication must involve a quorum of the public body.  A quorum is usually a simple majority of the members of a public body.  Thus, a communication among less than a quorum of the members of a public body will not be a deliberation, unless there are multiple communications among the members of the public body that together constitute communication among a quorum of members.  Courts have held that the Open Meeting Law applies when members of a public body communicate in a serial manner in order to evade the application of the law.  Note that the expression of an opinion on matters within the body’s jurisdiction to a quorum of a public body is a deliberation, even if no other public body member responds.  For example, if a member of a public body sends an email to a quorum of a public body expressing her opinion on a matter that could come before that body, this communication violates the law even if none of the recipients responds.  http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/attorney-generals-open-meeting-law-guide.html#Meetings-Deliberation