On Leverett: The impetus for Leverett’s FTTH project includes need for both Internet access and telephone service. The Town currently lacks broadband Internet and reliable telephone service. This is a serious impediment to public good and public safety, affecting police, fire, and highway departments, the school, and residents generally.
(1) Internet: Leverett has no cable provider and only a small neighborhood served by DSL. The majority of residents rely on satellite, with fixed wireless available in some areas. Old, inadequate copper distribution lines compromise DSL service. High latency compromises satellite service. High cost for low bandwidth compromises DSL, satellite, and fixed wireless.
(2) Telephone: The copper-based landline system is so prone to disruption that the town was included in a state investigation of voice service quality by the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable. That investigation was settled with an agreement requiring improvements to the landline infrastructure; but problems persist, especially in wet weather. Leverett has extremely limited wireless telephone service.
(3) Fast, reliable Internet and telephone service will attract new businesses and promote economic expansion by existing residents. High-speed symmetrical bandwidth will support advanced applications such as video relay service (VRS) and next-generation 911, as well as a telemedicine system in partnership with regional hospitals. ‘Smart grid’ applications are under discussion with the local electric utility—Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO)—to deploy ‘smart’ switches on transmission lines. The town is eager to partner with the utility to advance grid security, especially in light of severe weather that has recently occurred in the region.
On Next Century Cities: Leverett is joining Next Century Cities to support and benefit from the opportunity to collaborate on municipal broadband planning, development, and deployment issues. Our experience as a small rural town that voted to tax itself to build a ‘last mile’ FTTH network provides a wealth of information we are happy to share with other municipalities. We look forward to learning from the experience of others as we go forward together to encourage states and the federal government to increase their efforts to create state-of-the-art telecommunications for all residents.
What Leverett is working on: Leverett is a rural community in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, with a population of nearly 2000 in about 800 households in 22.7 square miles: approximately 88 persons per square mile (See: http://www.leverett.ma.us/content/general-leverett-information). The project will serve all Town households, businesses, and anchor institutions. The Leverett Municipal Light Plant (MLP) was created by the Town of Leverett to undertake development of a ‘last mile’ Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network.
The network is currently under construction, with a planned completion date of December 2014. The capital costs of the project are funded by a general obligation municipal tax bond in the amount of $3.6M. The Leverett network will provide 1G symmetrical Active-Ethernet access and full-featured IP-based telephone service. Connection to the Internet will be through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) ‘middle mile’ (funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). the FTTH design includes future proofing and potential for scalability. The basic network architecture and equipment are designed to easily handle an expansion of bandwidth from symmetrical 1G to 10G and For further information, see: