BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick last week announced the lighting of the first section of a new 1,200-mile fiber-optic network that will bring high-speed Internet access to underserved areas of western and central Massachusetts.
The MassBroadband 123 network will provide fiber-optic connectivity directly to 1,200 key facilities in more than 120 western and central Massachusetts communities. Those institutions include schools, libraries, municipal buildings and public safety and health care facilities. The section was lit on April 4 and includes 51 community institutions. The remaining segments of the MassBroadband 123 network will be powered up in the months ahead.
Patrick and the Mass. Legislature created the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in the Broadband Act of 2008, providing $40 million in state bond funds to start the process of connecting the unconnected in western Massachusetts. In 2010, $45.4 million in federal stimulus funding was awarded to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. •