Cummington receives $70K grant to connect buildings to internet

Published: 12/15/2020 5:28:55 PM

CUMMINGTON – The town has received a $69,631 state grant that will allow its broadband network for town buildings to connect to the internet.

The grant is part of $3.7 million in Community Compact Cabinet (CCC) Information Technology grants that were announced last week and provided to 55 municipalities.

The network that the grant is supporting is separate from the public municipal broadband network that the town has almost finished setting up.

“It’s strictly for the governmental aspects,” said Allan Douglas, the manager of the town’s Municipal Light Plant.

The Municipal Light Plant oversees both the public and the town municipal broadband networks. Douglas said the town has created a separate network for government functions for security purposes and that it should be functional in February or March.

The public network, meanwhile, is considerably farther along.

“We’re finishing up doing all of the subscriber connections,” Douglas said. 

Subscribers started being connected to the internet in Cummington via its municipal broadband network this summer, and about 345 customers have been connected so far. The goal is to connect all who have asked to subscribe by the end of the month, according to Douglas. 

Internet through the municipal system is $85 a month for residents. Residential customers can also purchase phone service through the utility at $14.99 a month plus taxes and fees for unlimited local and long-distance calls.  Commercial accounts pay different rates.

All those in town who have asked to subscribe, or who have asked that their houses be internet-ready, have been connected, or are being connected at no cost to them. However, anyone who asks to be connected, or for their property to be made internet-ready, will be charged for connections, as the free connection sign up ended on Dec. 1.

Douglas said that most people who have reached out about the service are “ecstatic.” He said he has been working to bring broadband to town since 2010. The build-out of the combined cost of both the town’s and the public municipal broadband network comes to about $2.6 million, with $840,00 from the state, not including the latest grant. 

Bera Dunau can be reached at [email protected].

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