The Blandford Municipal Light Plant (MLP) has chosen Whip City Fiber, a division of Westfield Gas & Electric, as our Internet Service Provider (ISP). Blandford will own the network. Anyone who had paid $49 to WiredWest in entitled to a refund by submitting a written request to WiredWest (please see the home page for form and instructions).
The Broadband committee is working closely with Whip City, and holding bi weekly meetings. The network has been designed, pole applications have been submitted to both Eversource and Verizon. The system Hub will be located on North Blandford Road at the new cemetery maintenance building. The base for the Hub is in place, and the actual structure should be in place by mid to late summer.
There are some 20 other towns using WG+E as their ISP, and the utilities are working on each town in sequence. We should start seeing crews in town late in the year.
We are currently paying the utilities and WG+E with the state funds allocated. At some point Blandford will need to borrow funds to continue the project. That authorization has all ready been passed in Town Meeting.
Construction should begin late this year or early 2020. About 60 days prior to that WG+E will conduct marketing sessions and promotional campaigns. At that time, applications for service will be available on the Westfield Blandford web site. Homeowners who subscribe and pay for their network connection at that time will pay the discounted rate. This will include service to the house. If one subscribes after the crews have completed work in that section of Town they will pay additional hook-up fees.
The Blandford MLP is in the process of determining a “drop policy” for setting service and connection fees. Pricing will be based on WG+E Fees, insurance, bond payments, etc., and are unknown at this point. WG+E will offer 1 gigabyte of internet access with an option for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone service. All above and below ground services will be included, and homeowners will be consulted prior to construction.
Westfield will construct the entire network, test it, and then start implementing fiber to the home within the five Fiber Service Areas in the Town. Homes will be “lit up” as each area is completed. Based on current projections, Eversource and Verizon priorities, and weather concerns, we anticipate service to begin being implemented in mid to late 2020.