Town of Wendell, Massachusetts

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Home Broadband Committee
Broadband Committee

The Wendell Broadband Committee Mission

To facilitate the acquisition and installation of a high-speed Broadband network in Wendell by:

  1. Continuing to work towards bringing internet and technology to the entire town with an emphasis on high speed access to our schools, library, town hall, police and fire departments, small businesses, homebound residents, disabled residents, and seniors; 
  2. Continuing to analyze costs and financial options (whether in committee or by acquiring consult) to assure fiscal responsibility during construction and operation of upcoming network; 
  3. Working closely with Wendell's Select Board, who is the current acting Board for "Wired Wendell", our Municipal Light Plant (MLP), making recommendations to the Board (MLB) as necessary and appropriate; 
  4. Finding solutions that will best protect the rural character and pristine natural resources of our community;
  5. Finding solutions that support a local economy, local control, affordable and sustainable options to subscribers, and bring fiscally responsible and sustainable options for the town with regards to our Municipal Light Plant;  
  6. Consulting with, and working closely with our neighboring towns of Shutesbury, Leverett and New Salem; and 
  7. Working closely with EOHED, Westfield Gas & Electric, and Whip City Fiber, to assure that Wendell’s best interests are being served during the design, make-ready, light-up, and operation phases of the network. 

The Wendell Broadband Committee aims to create a town-owned fiber-optic network making high-speed Internet available to every Wendell residence and business. After many years of hard work, we are now underway. The current goal of operational service is January 2020. 

The Broadband Committee oversees both the construction and operations side of the project, alongside the MLB/Selectboard and Finance Committee. We are researching and looking toward managing the MLP in the best interest of the town which currently includes electing or appointing a separate municipal light board to run the MLP separate from the town and utilizing an MLP Enterprise Fund which remains part of town accounts. We continue to watch the developing discussions from legal and financial professionals in the private sector and within state agencies as new laws and policies define, for the first time, the management of an internet-only utility. 

Wendell has contracted with Westfield Gas and Electric (WG&E), a 118-year-old municipal utility, to design, engineer, and construct our network. We are also moving forward to contract with WG&E/Whip City Fiber to be our network operator (NO) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) As a municipal light plant, WG&E/WCF prioritizes bringing high-quality service at the lowest possible cost. Through WG&E, Whip City Fiber has completed a construction design and our "make-ready" preliminary work has begun (Spring 2019). 

We encourage you to come to any and all meetings to learn more or email the committee: broadbandcommittee.wendellmass.us. Our goad is to help all residents understand the details, feasibility, and impact of this exciting project. 



Draft Minutes of the 6-27-2011 meeting

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Wendell Broadband Committee
June 27, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes
Meeting opened at: 7:15 p.m. at the Wendell Town Offices.

Members Present: Robbie Heller, Robbie Leppzer, Nan Riebschlaeger, and Benjamin Schwartz.

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Info on Broadband Article For Wendell Town Meeting 12/15/10

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Robbie Leppzer, Chair, Wendell Broadband Committee

At our upcoming special Town Meeting on Wednesday, December 15 at 7pm, Wendell citizens will have an opportunity to vote to take concrete steps to develop a municipally-owned, fiber-optic high-speed broadband internet network for Wendell and other unserved towns in Western Massachusetts.

As Chair of the Wendell Broadband Committee, I co-led the original organizing efforts, with other broadband committee representatives from 47 unserved and underserved towns across Western Mass., to create the Wired West Cooperative.

Last June at our annual Town Meeting, Wendell citizens voted overwhelmingly to "enter into immediate discussions" with other Western Mass towns to create WiredWest.

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Report to Wendell Select Board on WiredWest

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Robbie Leppzer, Chair, Wendell Broadband Committee

Background

Spring 2010: Town meeting vote or select board action in 47 towns established intent to cooperate with other towns on the creation of Wired West to provide "last mile" broadband network to homes and businesses. This network will be funded by grants, bonds, and subscriber fees, and will not be dependent on tax revenue from the towns. Wendell passed this warrant article with an overwhelming majority vote.

July 2010: Massachusetts Broadband Institute awarded $45.4 Million (total $71.6 Million with state funds) to build "middle mile" broadband network now called MassBroadband 123, connecting to anchor institutions in 123 unserved and underserved towns with 1100 miles of fiber-optic cable.

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Page 5 of 8

Broadband Committee Minutes & Agendas

Broadband Construction Photos

Broadband Committee Documents

Jun.19

 ATM Budget 2020 with adjustments

Jun.19

 2020 Budget as changed at ATM

Broadband Events

No events