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Money Sought For Study on Possible Pittsfield Broadband Network

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city wants to know if it could become an internet service provider.
 
State Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouiver and Paul Mark have filed a budget amendment calling for "not less than $75,000 be allocated for the purpose of a feasibility study" to determine if the city can and should become an internet service provider. The amendment came at the request from Mayor Linda Tyer.
 
"This is in response to the demand we know is out there for broadband and quite frankly we are tired of waiting for the utilities and the cable companies to move on this issue," Tyer said.
 
"If we want to be competitive in a global economy, broadband is going to vital to that. It is vital for the William Stanley Business Park. It is important for businesses downtown. We're going to see if we can taker this on ourselves."
 
Municipal broadband systems have been taking hold in Western Massachusetts recently. The community-owned internet service is eyed to bolster speeds and decrease pricing in areas that are underserved by the utility companies.
 
The study, if approved, would examine if there is a market and an interest for the city to develop its own service. Tyer referred said the city has the possibility to become the "hub" for the entire county's high-speed internet service.
 
"We want to conduct a feasibility study to see if we can be the broadband, internet service provider," Tyer said.
 
The mayor noted Westfield as an example of such a system, and said city officials have been in communication with that service to gain insight. The Westfield network is expanding through partnerships with some 20 neighboring towns.
 
The study is only the first step and has yet to be approved in the state's budget. But, eventually, if feasible, the idea would be that the city builds out the high-speed internet network. The ultimate goal is to have enough subscribers to support the network's operations.
 
Currently, Pittsfield is mostly served by Spectrum but the relationship between the cable and internet provided and the city and state have been tenuous. 

Tags: broadband,   Internet,   

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Pittsfield Chooses Tyer And Mazzeo For Mayoral Election

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters casting ballots at Tuesday's preliminary election chose mayoral candidates Linda Tyer and Melissa Mazzeo to face off for the general election in November.
 
They also thinned out the herd in two ward races to place the names of Jonathan Lothrop and Patrick Kavey on the ballot for Ward 5 and candidates Joseph Nichols and Dina Guiel Lampiasi for Ward 6.
 
On the mayoral front, Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo received the most votes out of the four candidates on the ballot with an unofficial count of 2,860 votes. Incumbent Mayor Linda Tyer received 2,571 votes.  
 
The two mayor candidates were favorites in the race, and performed well above Rusty Anchor owner Scott Graves and retired Pittsfield Police Officer Karen Kalinowsky. Graves took 343 votes while Kalinowsky took 281 votes.
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