ARRA logoOn the heels of Missouri’s $142 million broadband stimulus application, the state of Massachusetts announced a $105 million broadband stimulus bid. The application is for $100 million in BIP/BTOP funding for a ‘middle mile’ broadband network and $5 million for statewide broadband mapping. “The Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to compete for these federal stimulus dollars, which will allow us to empower the students and businesses in western Massachusetts with the tools they need to succeed,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

The proposed project would cover an area of 1,591 square miles in western Massachusetts, representing roughly one-third of the state. Massachusetts says the proposal will “bring new broadband access to 20,337 households and 5,750 businesses.” They also purport it will create up to 3,040 jobs. The program would be run through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC).

Under the proposal, a region wide fiber network would be built, providing interconnection ‘at cost’ to private or non-profit ISPs. Those ISPs in turn “… enter into contractual relationships with the MBI to provide ‘last-mile access’ to the public Internet for residents, businesses, and local community anchor institutions including schools, libraries, police stations, and town hall facilities.”

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Interesting concept. Makes you wonder how existing middle mile providers are reacting to this proposal. FairPoint got itself into a little controversy by objecting to a similar concept in Maine because of its competitive implications. Indeed, these proposals add interesting twists to the competitive environment.

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