A broadband vision for Pittsfield. Robert B. Ireland Jr., Pittsfield. May 3, 2022
Why has Pittsfield made a clear choice not to invest in municipal broadband?
Westfield, Holyoke, West Springfield and Springfield all have made major investments in municipal broadband. In fact, they used American Rescue Plan Act funding to help these efforts. To date, Pittsfield has used zero ARPA funding on investment in any municipal broadband efforts. The mayor and community development office have yet to entertain this idea. Why?
What municipal broadband can do:
- 1. Increase revenue for Pittsfield. Westfield’s network is already 70 percent built and its residents are paying into their own city not a corporate provider.
- All revenue remains local. No revenue is siphoned out by large corporate providers.
- The infrastructure is mostly in place in the downtown. A first phase built out of the downtown can immediately be a economic driver for further downtown investment.
- A second-phase buildout could benefit the efforts of William Stanley Business Park and the Berkshire Health Systems.
- All sectors of the community benefit. Education, affordable housing, policing, to name a few.
- Tax and city service rates all stabilize. No more high water and sewer rates.
Municipal broadband is a vision for the future. It’s a glue that can solidify all other community efforts. The time is now. Paying for such a network can be accomplished through combination of federal and state funding, cannabis revenue and private stakeholders.
If you are a Pittsfield resident, please urge our leaders to consider this vision of investment in our future.