The following is an historical timeline of activities leading up to formation of the Alford ( MLP)
2002-2005: Larry Chernicoff tried unsuccessfully to get information from Verizon, Adelphia, Time Warner, others, about providing DSL service. No responses or stonewalling. Charlie Ketchen asked Larry to form & chair a broadband committee. Subsequently, WiSpring made a presentation to Select Board about its new wireless Internet system.
2006 - early 2007: “DSL” Committee formed as informal group of volunteers: Larry Chernicoff, Arthur Dellea, Jim Hall, Julie Scott. Julie Scott issues request for interest in DSL by Alford residents. Beginning of rumblings about Commonwealth investment in building network. Subsequent to a public meeting in Alford to discuss Internet options and WiSpring presentations the DSL Committee becomes the Alford Broadband Committee (ABC). Work continues on identifying sites for WiSpring poles. Continued exploration of other possibilities, including regional solutions. Many meetings and emails. WiSpring pole sites identified at Liliana and Hillel Bachrach’s on Old Village Road and at John and Ruth Littlechild’s on EastRoad.
Late 2007: Verizon confirms no plans to bring fiber to western Mass. Plans for MBI announced, $25M to be requested. Lease agreements for Bachrach and Littlechild sites signed. Bacharach and Littlechild sites operating.
2008 -2009: MBI bill moves forward in legislature. Increased from $25M to $40M. Valentine’s Day hearings. Free WiSpring hotspot at Town Hall. Southern Berkshire Technology Committee formed, ultimately 11 towns. Mass. Broadband bill passes August 4, 2008, creating the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and providing $40M toward building fiber network. American Recovery and Reimvestment Act (“Stimulus” Act) includes $8.2B for broadband expansion, later reduced to $7.2B. MBI designated to be recipient of ARRA broadband funding, not individual municipalities. Massachusetts submits application for funding from ARRA to build middle-mile network.
2010 - 2011: First round of ARRA grants awarded; MA not selected. A Western Mass. Community Fiber Network proposed, ultimately became WiredWest. After submission of a revised proposal, Massachusetts receives $45.4M from ARRA for developing broadband access. Total to MBI with State matching is $71.6M for building middle mile. Preliminary planning begins for MBI middle mile, called MassBroadband123. Fiber deployment begins.
2012 - 2013: Alford passes 2nd vote of approval to create Municipal Lighting Plant. MassBroadband123 construction completed. Frustrated with lack of action on last-mile, Alford Broadband Committee begins more intensive exploration of creating a town-owned network.
2014 to date: ABC conducts surveys of town interests & requirements. ABC presents survey results, implementation options and financing model including town plus subscriber funding. Town approves $1.6 Mil. and elects Municipal Light Plant officials to undertake the last mile implementation. Alford MLP works with MBI to negotiate a cooperative implementation and grant of state funding for part of the project. MBI’s actions are placed on hold by the governor’s office. Alford MLP initiates an Alford specific implementation. (See “Alford MLP Update, April 6. 2016”).