AT ITS FEBRUARY 20 MEETING, the Hawley Selectboard provisionally approved a motion to name WiValley of Keene, NH as “vendor of choice” for Broadband implementation in Hawley. The recommendation was unanimously voted by the Hawley Communications Committee on February 14, and then again by the Selectboard on February 20.
WiValley would implement its proposal using Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) flexible grant program monies, only — in Hawley’s case, $520,000 — with no need for long-term borrowing and zero impact on taxes.
This approval is “provisional” because more due diligence needs to be done via reference checks and other means before the selection is final. However, WiValley, working in conjunction with network design firm Interisle Consulting Group of Boston, has put forward the only proposal that meets all of the criteria established by the Communications Committee.
In making its recommendation to the Selectboard, the Communications Committee wrote, in part:
Our recommendation to pursue the WiValley proposal is based on the fact that it is the only proposal now before us that appears to meet the following criteria:
The service would be available to any resident who wants to subscribe;
The service would present minimal initial costs for subscribers to connect to the proposed network;
The service would be reasonably priced in terms of a monthly rate; AND
The service would offer reasonably good capacity and data speeds; these speeds would be better than other options currently available to residents; and there is sufficient capacity to allow higher speeds above the baseline package for those who require it.
The proposal is for a hybrid fixed-wireless/fiber system. Which technology is used in which situation is a decision based on terrain, cost conditions under MBI’s control, and population density. In Hawley’s case, because of our unique terrain, the installation is likely to be all-wireless.
WiValley’s proposal is dependent, to a certain extent, on the firm’s ability to build a network involving two or more Towns. So far, Hawley and Savoy have agreed to participate, and a presentation made in Florida, MA on February 21 was well-received.
An informational session is being planned for March or early April to provide Hawley residents with many more details.
In the meantime, click HERE to view the presentation delivered in Florida.