Broadband Project

STATUS:

The Town of Chesterfield contracted with Westfield Gas & Electric to design and engineer our municipally owned broadband network.  The engineering is complete and utility pole applications have been submitted to Verizon and Eversource.  The Town is waiting to receive Make Ready invoices which will be the cost to make utility poles ready to receive our network fiber cables.  This may entail pole replacement or moving existing utility lines to make space for ours.  After the Make Ready segment of the project, our network can be constructed.  We are currently hoping for the network to go live in the latter part of 2020.

THE PLAN:

The Chesterfield Municipal Light Plant (MLP), in cooperation with the Select Board, is currently working on building a municipal broadband network.

The plan is to connect all homes in town to the internet via fiber optic cable.  Fiber optic cable will provide internet access to all subscribers at speeds up to 100 times faster than average DSL, cable, or satellite connections.

Our success depends on the core values of our municipal network:

Equitable: Every home, business, and buildable lot in the town will have the ability to be served by the network.

Financially Responsible: The funding model for the project must be realistic for our town with a prudent plan for repayment of any incurred municipal debt within a reasonable timeframe.

Affordable: The cost of monthly subscriber fees must be competitive and affordable for townspeople.

High Quality: The network must be reliable and secure, with maintenance plans to deliver ongoing quality service.

Scalable: The network must serve residents for years to come and be easily modified, updated, or expanded to provide continued access as needs increase.

The project build will be paid for using a combination of taxpayer funds and state grants and will be a public utility serving the residents of Chesterfield. 

Our goal is to have an operational network in the year 2020. 

Why Broadband?

Currently, only some Chesterfield residents have access to the internet via Verizon DSL, which has been slow at best.  The current DSL service is built with deteriorating electronics on old copper telephone wires.  It is an outdated and limited technology that can't keep up with today's internet.  Some households pay high rates for satellite-based internet, which suffers from high latency, outages during bad weather, and limits on data usage.  In addition, only some sections of our town have cellular phone service.  In short, we are an underserved community. 

Why This Matters 

Reliable, affordable internet access is important for all residents because it brings numerous benefits to our community. Broadband internet is no longer a luxury, but rather an essential utility in the 21st century. 

Financial 

-To maintain the value of our homes.  Many home buyers and renters will not consider a property that does not have broadband available.

-Makes work-from-home jobs and small home-based business attractive and possible.

-Can reduce household costs by bundling phone and internet service together.

Education

- Chesterfield and Goshen are the only towns in the Hampshire Regional School District whose students do not have widespread internet access.  This puts them at an educational disadvantage compared to schoolchildren from the other three towns in the district.

-Students can complete research and access homework assignments online.

-Parents are increasingly expected to access children’s school information online.

-Adults and children can use the unlimited resources available for online learning opportunities.

-Access to online courses and degree programs for continuing adult education.

Public Safety

-Residents can be notified about emergencies and access information critical to their safety and well-being.

-First responders can send and receive critical voice, video, and data information.

-Town health and safety volunteers can receive online continuing education and certification.

Healthcare

-Access health information online

-Access to specialists regardless of geography

-Provide remote care and monitoring for patients in their own homes

-Allows elderly to stay in their own homes longer while receiving quality care

-Direct communication with your own health care providers

-Connect parents to online resources and support groups

Quality of Life

-Makes Chesterfield an attractive hometown choice 

-Stay informed about town and community events

-Stream movies, television, and other online media

-Pursue hobbies

-Stay connected with friends and family around the country and the world