Broadband Update By FHMS Chair Lark Thwing

NOTE: this report was originally written by FHMS Chair Lark Thwing for the various stakeholders of the Four Towns FHMS Broadband Project, including voting representatives of the Four Towns (Florida, Hawley, Monroe and Savoy), consultants Interisle and DesignNine, and MBI officials.  While it is addressed primarily to those stakeholders, hopefully it will give community members a sense of the project’s status as well. 

Hi Everybody,

Here’s hoping all of you are safe and well and that covid-19 has not affected you or any of those near and dear to you.

You haven’t heard anything from me or probably anybody else about FHMS Broadband since our conference call in the early part of June. Since that time there have been a number of complications. Brian’s mom had been very ill and passed away about 10 days ago. This alone has taken a great deal of his time and energy.

In addition, coronavirus has created a number of new unanticipated problems in WiValley’s New Hampshire business that had to be taken care of. And lastly Mark, the chief home installer, fell off a ladder at Sidehill Farm, broke his wrist, sprained the other wrist and his ribs, so he’s been slow to get back in the swing of things.

Brian is back in Massachusetts today (Weds., July 22) and getting his arms around the various issues he has to deal with in the order in which they have to be dealt with. At this stage of the game I believe it’s fair to say that we are probably six weeks behind where we expected to be when we set the agenda for the next meeting in the early part of June.  Brian needs to finalize a few pole relocations and get those specs to various towns including Hawley so that we can schedule pole hearings as soon as possible. I expect the next batch of poles will probably not be installed until mid to late August.

I see no need for another teleconference until such time as Brian has been able to make some substantial forward progress on infrastructure and we have something to report on.

He has gotten new software operational that’s necessary for the CAF 2 testing, and Design Nine is working with him on any issues that may come up with their review of it. (Note: CAF 2 is a federal program that supplements funding for rural Broadband projects to help it achieve consistency of the service levels provided between  un- or under-served areas and competitively served urban demographics. DesignNine is a consulting firm hired by the FHMS committee per MBI requirements to oversee certain aspects of the project, includig CAF 2 requirements.)

As of July 10th we had about 106 customers connected but we know that some of those customers need a stronger signal or a different transmitter before they’ll be optimized. So tell everyone to be patient, please.

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