Archive for January, 2018

Broadband Decision time

January 26th, 2018 Comments off

Middlefield Broadband notes – January 2018  —  Meeting for informal discussion at Blossom Community Center, 16 Bell Rd, on Saturday 1/27/18 at 11:30am.

So far, 5 vendors have offered proposals to MBI (Mass Broadband Institute) to provide internet service to Middlefield.  MBI is pressuring Selectboard to choose a path soon. Link to proposals is:

Vendors: Comcast, Crocker, Matrix, Westfield Gas & Elect (WhipCityFiber), WiValley.

Important non-technical questions for voters, residents, and taxpayers:  

Would you…

A) vote for some expense on the tax rate for internet infrastructure? ..or..

B) vote that internet plan should NOT impact taxes? (be paid only by MBI & subscribers) 

C) vote a middle ground  (example: Use some town tax money to improve our options for what gets built, but no ongoing responsibility for subsidizing.)

 Would you subscribe …or… not subscribe?  (give your reasons or cost limits)

How many other premises can you identify as definitely not subscribing in 2018?

 Insider Language:

MBI (Mass Broadband Institute) is the state entity that has earmarked $580,000 as Middlefield’s grant allocation for funding a BroadBand proposal meeting MBI’s approval. The rules for approval have changed over time. Originally, service had to be available to 96% of premises and have a minimum 25/3mbs speed. Current proposals are not guaranteed to be approved, but are in response to a FGP (Flexible Grant Program) asking what % service can be achieved for the allocated state money.

 25/3mbps. mbps= Mega Bits per Second.  This measures the speed of the internet connection. The first number is the download speed, and the second number is the upload speed.  Vendors provide more speed for download because that is a majority of what customers do with their internet connection.  Test your current internet speed at Ookla: 

For comparison: Verizon DSL tends to be 4/2mbps or less for $62/mo with phone.  Chester Hill’s Comcast install, paid for by MBI, claims 200/25mbps for $60/mo +fees & taxes.

 Take Rate. Much of calculating costs or viability of a Middlefield BroadBand (BB) network is dependent on “Take Rate” –in other words, how many of the homes that could be served will sign up to pay for monthly service?  

Middlefield has approx. 280 premises. How many would subscribe?  Can we reach the 60% Take Rate of 170 customers, which is a pre-requisite for the Matrix offer? (170/280=.60+) 

 FTTH (Fiber To The Home) plans involve the cost of running wires along utility poles and road miles.  Almost all towns are planning FTTH networks because the bandwidth and speed are viewed as being able to handle all future demand.  Almost all the offers are for FTTH. –Except for the proposal by WiValley, which offers the wireless system previously debated. 

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