ON THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Communications Committee Member and Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Superintendent Lark Thwing received an email from Interisle Consulting Principal Fred Goldstein containing a draft proposal for a Broadband plan for Hawley. When he looked at the level of detail and the cost projections for the proposal, Lark felt it was a joyous Holiday gift, indeed.
Work on the proposal by Interisle is being funded via a $5,000 planning grant that was awarded to Hawley by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI).
Included in the proposal was an inclusive budget figure that was less than one-third of the original projection put forth by MBI. Also included was an intricate diagram of a network of line-of-sight paths anchored by special radio transmitters and receivers on telephone-type poles, mainly installed on Town road right-of-ways, that would constitute a good part of the network electronics. That network is said to be able to support 96% of those Hawley residents who had previously indicated via an Internet survey that they would like to subscribe to such a service. The Committee is exploring ways to expand the network to encompass a bit more of Hawley’s population.
The Communications Committee has begun the process of checking out the Interisle proposal in detail. The Committee is interested in . . .
♦ Conformance with MBI requirements for further funding;
♦ Tested speed levels of the wireless devices recommended;
♦ Precision of budget numbers;
♦ On-ground viability of pole placements; and,
♦ Ways to expand the user base without causing costs to skyrocket.
It’s a lot of work, but as Lark says, “Now we have something specific to focus on. The preliminary results of the planning grant, as implemented by Fred Goldstein of Interisle, give us tremendous impetus as we stride into 2016.”