AFTER A PAUSE WHEN A NEW VENDOR ENTERED the fray, WiValley has again emerged as the clear and undisputed leader in the race to become vendor-of-choice for the four, contiguous towns that are looking to use MBI funding to build a fixed-wireless, high-speed network.
Broadband committee representatives of those four towns — Florida, Hawley, Monroe and Savoy — met at the Florida Town Hall on Thursday, June 7 to discuss WiValley’s latest Letter of Intent to MBI. In it, WiValley President Brian Foucher announced a new strategic partnership with Otelco, a NASDAQ-traded telecommunications company with holdings in West Virginia, Missouri, Maine, Massachusetts and Alabama.
Included in the list of Otelco holdings is Granby Telephone and Telegraph of MA, which is described as an “independent local telephone and internet service provider.”
The proposed relationship between the two companies is interesting. WiValley would engineer, build and maintain the physical apparatus of the network, while Otelco would be the Internet service provider (ISP), offering Internet at various speeds, Internet Phone, billing services, and 24/7 phone-based customer support. In the case where a network fix required a service visit, Otelco would dispatch a WiValley technician to the site.
Otelco handles both fiber- and wireless-based systems, and is currently providing ISP services to the Town of Leverett, MA, one of the early recipients of MBI funding.
Initial pricing starts at $45 per month for 12/3 Mbps and $55 for 25/5, with greater speeds available at proportional pricing levels in some locations, depending on vegetative density and terrain.
At the June 7 meeting, the assembled broadband committee members voted resoundingly in favor of the WiValley/Otelco combination as their vendor-of-choice. A followup letter to MBI Chairman Peter Larkin was signed at the Hawley Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, June 12.
Given rapid negotiations to finalize the necessary agreements, Foucher said that the entire network infrastructure could be completed by the end of this year. This means that users could subscribe to the service in early 2019.