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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 Environmental Group Looks to Eradicate Evasive Kiwi

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The youth environmental group Greenagers hopes to secure Community Preservation Act funds to continue evasive kiwi control work at Burbank Park.
 
The Parks Commission voted Tuesday to move the Greenagers initiative to CPA project eligibility review.
 
"They want to continue the work that they have done already," Recreation Activities Coordinator Becky Manship said.
 
Manship had said at a prior meeting that there had not been enough information so it could not be grouped in with other possible projects at that time.
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