- Boards & Commissions
- Technology Committee
- Jeffrey Lazarus, Co-chairman
- Rolfe Tessem, Co-Chairman
Egremont Tech Committee January Update
From Egremont News, January 2023
In late September, Fiber Connect completed its network buildout throughout Egremont with one exception, the Gulder Hills community at the top of Brookvale and Hilltop (B/H) roads. Deploying fiber to B/H depends on the B/H Homeowners Association securing Commonwealth easements and permits to cross state conservation lands (the Jug End Reservation). This buildout is infeasible under the terms of the FC-Town Agreement. Accordingly, the Town has confirmed FC's network as complete and FC's eligibility to receive its final payment from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. Notwithstanding, FC intends to provide service to the B/H area when easements and permits are in hand. FC has brought all the necessary fiber infrastructure to the foot of Brookvale Rd, where it intersects with Jug End Rd. FC has also voluntarily deposited $10,700 with the Town as surety for completing this buildout within the next three years.
FC is upgrading its network capability for faster speeds, from 2 to 10 Gigabits per second. FB is testing 10Gbps equipment in their lab. They are also testing the next generation of Optical Network Terminals (ONT). Due to supply chain issues, there is no timetable presently.
FC is adding backhaul redundancy to its network. Redundant backhaul means there will be another link between the Town and the national network. Currently, there is only one connection through Mass Middle Mile. For Egremont, this will significantly reduce the likelihood of a network-wide outage caused by a single-point failure of the connection. FC has two backhaul circuits on order; one is waiting to complete the required make-ready, and the other is delayed by back-ordered equipment.
FC is nearing the move of its head end to an on-ground location on Baldwin Hill North. The concrete pad and conduits are in place; the wait is for components for the hut.
Fiber Connect Low-Income Broadband Subsidy Program
Under the terms of Fiber Connect's agreement with the Town of Egremont to wire the Town for fiber optic broadband, Fiber Connect offers a low-income subsidy to qualifying households in the form of a 50% discount on their published installation charges and on monthly broadband service (taxes excluded).
This program was adopted on a one-year trial basis and is currently ongoing. Go here to find out if you are eligible and to apply.
Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
Fiber Connect of the Berkshires provides free public Wi-Fi hotspots in South and North Egremont – Town Hall Parking Lot, 171 Rt. 71, No. Egremont and the Free Library Parking Lot, 1 Buttonball Lane, So. Egremont.
The ISP also provides free public Wi-Fi in French Park. When in the Park, access "EgremontFreeWi-Fi," an unsecured network. The Wi-Fi service covers the lower portion of the Park - tennis courts, playground, Little League field, pavilions, horse rink, and the open areas. A 360° antenna on a pole behind one of the dugouts broadcasts the signal. Speeds will vary depending on your distance from the antenna. A second hotspot at the French Park Dog Park will be lit once FC's new head end location is complete.
With the receipt of a state grant, two more Wi-Fi hotspots will be added along Main St., So. Egremont, and one hotspot at the intersection of Boice Rd and Rt. 71 in No. Egremont later in 2022. Service along Main St. is temporarily on hold until major construction related to the state highway project is complete. FC is negotiating with National Grid regarding placement of hotspot equipment on one of their poles at the North Egremont intersection.