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Hilltown Voices: Cummington seeks broadband sign-ups

  • Michal Jarmolukvia/via Pixabay

For the Gazette
Published: 12/7/2019 2:09:21 PM

CUMMINGTON — Town officials are encouraging Cummington residents to sign up for high-speed internet now that the town-owned broadband network is slated for completion this coming summer.

The Cummington Municipal Light Plant (MLP), working in conjunction with Whip City Fiber of Westfield, is building the fiber-optic network that will bring high-speed internet to every home and business in town. At present, the network design is complete, and make-ready work on poles is nearly finished.

Allan Douglas, chairman of the MLP, said that now is the time for residents to sign up for internet service, or to at least make sure their homes are “internet ready” even if they do not wish to have the service at this point in time.

He said the municipal light plant plans to cover the costs of bringing fiber directly from the utility pole to homes if people sign up by Jan. 31.

“We wanted to make sure that it was available to everyone and the only way to do that is to pay for the drops,” Douglas said.

Residents who have not signed up by the cut-0off date will be responsible for paying for the connection from the pole to the home, including labor and materials, which Douglas said could be a significant cost.

Although some towns, such as Worthington, have opted for companies like Comcast to provide them with broadband services, Cummington decided to create its own network to ensure town control of the service and that revenues once the project is paid off and sustainable will go to the town.

“We chose to make this a town-owned business in the same way that Plainfield did,” Douglas said.

According to Douglas, the $2.2 million network is funded through an $800,000 grant from the state, while the town is borrowing $1.4 million for the project.

Residential high-speed internet service will be $85 per month, phone service will cost $14.99 and no contracts are required.

Sign up assistance will be available during library hours at the Cummington Bryant Free Library on Dec. 7 and 11, and Jan. 11 and 14. Residents can also sign up anytime online at whipcityfiber.com/cummington. For more information contact mlpmanager@cummington-ma.gov.

Chesterfield luminary

CHESTERFIELD — The 10th annual luminary celebration in Chesterfield will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Chesterfield Community Center from 5 to 7 p.m.

Participants can enjoy light refreshments, along with arts and crafts, and the glow of the luminaries that will be placed along Main Road.

“This year we will also be signing holiday cards for veterans,” organizer Bonnie Smith said.

In keeping with tradition, Santa Claus is scheduled to make an appearance on a Chesterfield firetruck decorated especially for his visit.

The event is a benefit for the Chesterfield/Goshen Children’s Fund. Cash and donations of unwrapped gifts will be accepted during the festivities. Checks can be made payable to the Chesterfield Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Traditional tea

PLAINFIELD — The Annual Yule Log Tea will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Shaw Hudson House.

Hosted by the Ladies Benevolent Society, this traditional tea is a holiday favorite, and a nice time to connect with friends and neighbors both old and new.

Share the spirit of the season, and perhaps a few Christmas carols. The Shaw Hudson House is at 286 Main St.

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.




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