Newly released funding will help over 4,600 unserved homes and businesses in Massachusetts close the digital divide
Washington (February 14, 2020) – Massachusetts Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-01) and James McGovern (MA-02) today announced the release of $10.2 million in federal funding to expand broadband access in Western Massachusetts. This funding has been awarded through the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund to Westfield Gas and Electric, a public utility supplying electric, natural gas, and high-speed internet service. Westfield Gas and Electric will receive this funding over the next decade and then distribute these resources to help 20 Western Massachusetts communities construct municipal-owned fiber-optic broadband networks for local residents. This award is expected to help over 4,600 unserved rural homes and businesses in Massachusetts obtain high-speed internet service.
“In today’s America, broadband equals opportunity, innovation, and job creation,” said Senator Markey. “That’s why I’m proud to have helped Westfield Gas and Electric secure this vital funding for new broadband infrastructure in some of the most underserved parts of Massachusetts. All residents of the Commonwealth deserve access to the employment, education, and entertainment that come from online connectivity in the 21st century. I will keep fighting until every family in the nation is connected.”
“Access to reliable, high-speed Internet is one of the best tools for unlocking economic opportunity, and I am proud to have helped a number of Western Massachusetts communities secure funding to build publicly-owned, fiber-optic broadband networks,” said Senator Warren. “We’re going to keep fighting in Congress until every home and business in the Commonwealth has access to affordable, high-speed broadband.”
“Reliable high-speed internet is as essential to the economic success of our communities as electricity or roads,” said Congressman McGovern. “While Massachusetts has made great strides when it comes to expanding broadband, even one family without access is too many. This newly-released federal funding will help us close the digital divide and ensure that every family in our Commonwealth has the tools they need for success in the 21st century.”
The 20 Massachusetts communities benefiting from this award are Alford, Ashfield, Blandford, Becket, Charlemont, Chesterfield, Colrain, Cummington, Goshen, Heath, Leyden, New Ashford, New Salem, Otis, Plainfield, Rowe, Shutesbury, Washington, Wendell and Windsor.