Cummington Connect Updates!

Week of April 27, 2020

Great News from Gov. Baker and WCF

Background:

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and lack of reliable broadband internet coverage throughout Western Massachusetts, The Baker-Polito Administration announced expanded access to high-speed internet for unserved cities and towns throughout Massachusetts that do not yet have a completed last-mile broadband network.


The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at MassTech, KCST and local internet service providers will offer communities new WiFi hotspots, building off the Commonwealth’s MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network.


These WiFi hotspots will provide unserved communities with a temporary 250 megabit per second wireless hotspot, allowing increased broadband access for residents, families and students impacted by COVID-19. This program will be offered free of monthly charge to eligible communities until September 1, 2020*. Citizens who use these hotspots must continue to follow social distancing protocols, and the towns and ISPs will post clear signs with the DPH guidance. Mass Broadband is providing support to local ISPs as needed.


  • When? We hope to have the new port up and running by the end of next week, May 8th.

  • Where? The new increased broadband will be installed in the Cummington Community House.

  • How? The Cummington covid taskforce has a list of rules for all to follow. They are linked here.


*This temporary program will be re-evaluated when the state-wide Covid-19 response efforts have ceased or after 5 months (whichever occurs first).

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Week of April 27, 2020

April 30, 2020


Dear Cummington Residents,


We are happy to report that as of last Friday, 92% of the town has had "strand" attached to the poles. Almost all of the make-ready work has been completed by the utilities. Crews are putting fiber up all over town, hanging 29% of the fiber as of 4/25. We hope to have all the fiber up by the end of next week. Some crews have started to put the connectors- the MSTs up and yesterday a splicing crew got started as well. So, what's next? The fiber will be hung, the msts will be added, then the connections will be spliced in. This is all being done on the backbone of our network. Don't worry if the crew has not come up your driveway or your connecting road, they will get there after the main infrastructure is complete.


We are also in the midst of having the hub outfitted with a rack for all the cards, all the cabinets, etc. They expect the hub to be done by early next week as well. Once the hub is outfitted, the crews will start bringing the fiber bundles in and hooking it all up. Each of the 4 FSAs (Fiber Service Areas) must be tested before it is released for installations. This is a complex process, which takes several weeks for each area, and is iterated as each FSA is completed. Each and every port has to be tested bilaterally to be sure that it all works as well as unilaterally testing all of the spare fibers, before the customer service reps can start making appointments for installations.


We will post where the crews will be every day on the main page of the town website under Recent News, as well as on both Facebook and Twitter.


In our bi-weekly call with WG&E aside from the great news about getting a hot spot in town, we also heard that as of next week, the interior installations can resume. This does not immediately affect us, but the folks in New Salem and Plainfield who had installation interrupted are very happy. The installation crew from Tri-Wire will be wearing ppe, abiding by social distancing and clean up rules. They have worked hard to figure out ways to allow this to happen safely. Cummington's Board of Health must sign off on their plan. Our police chief, Mike Perkins will be meeting with the covid response team and reps from the board of health to go over the plan and make a decision. Plan B is that the installations would proceed up to the house and a customer would then be "talked through" a self-install. Of course, with all covid-related decisions, this is subject to change.


Some folks have been asking about when the underground trenching will begin. The rep from WG&E is finalizing the plans for this and we should know soon. This will happen in a couple of steps. First, if you are listed for an underground connection, you will get a phone call to set up an appointment for a consult. The consultant will come out to your house, go over where the trench will be and come to a decision on placement. Then Dig Safe gets called and then finally the trench is dug and the conduit is placed, or the fiber is placed within an existing conduit.


If you haven’t signed up yet or would like to change from a cold drop to an installation- please let us know or just go to Cummington Whip City Fiber to sign up or make changes


Sincerely

Cummington MLP

Cummington MLP

Allan Douglas, MLP Manager

Maureen Tumenas

Scott Keith

Brenda Arbib

Mike Perkins

Having trouble? Who do you call?

Once things are up and running... If your internet is down- call Whip City 413-485-1204


If your power is out- call Eversource: 800-592-2000

If your landline is out- call Verizon: 1-800-922-0204

Stringing Fiber Optic Cable