Town of Wendell, Massachusetts

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Home Broadband Committee
Broadband Committee

The Wendell Broadband Committee Mission

To facilitate the acquisition and installation of a high-speed Broadband network in Wendell by:

  1. Continuing to work towards bringing internet and technology to the entire town with an emphasis on high speed access to our schools, library, town hall, police and fire departments, small businesses, homebound residents, disabled residents, and seniors. 
  2. Continuing to analyze costs and financial options (whether in committee or by acquiring consult) to assure fiscal responsibility during construction and operation of upcoming network. 
  3. Working closely with Wendell's Select Board, making recommendations to the Board as necessary and appropriate. 
  4. Finding solutions that will best protect the rural character and pristine natural resources of our community.
  5. Finding solutions that support a local economy, local control, affordable and sustainable options to subscribers, and bring fiscally responsible and sustainable options for the town with regards to our Municipal Light Plant: Wired Wendell.  
  6. Consulting with, and working closely with our neighboring towns of Shutesbury, Leverett and New Salem in addition to the broadband committees of all member towns of the WiredWest cooperative.
  7. Working closely with EOHED, Westfield Gas & Electric, Holyoke Gas & Electric and WiredWest to assure that Wendell’s best interests are being served during the design, make-ready, light-up, and operation phases of the network. 

The Wendell Broadband Committee aims to create a town-owned fiber-optic network making high-speed Internet available to every Wendell residence and business. After many years of hard work, we are now underway. The current goal of operational service is September of 2019. 

The Broadband Committee oversees both the construction and operations side of the project, alongside the Selectboard and Finance Committee. Our municipal light plant (MLP) is named Wired Wendell and is currently managed by our Selectboard. We are researching and looking toward managing the MLP in the best interest of the town which currently includes either electing a municipal light board (MLB) to run the MLP separate from the town or utilizing an MLP Enterprise Fund which remains part of town accounts. We continue to watch the developing discussions from legal and financial professionals in the private sector and within state agencies as new laws and policies define, for the first time, the management of an internet-only utility. 

Wendell has contracted with Westfield Gas and Electric (WG&E), a 118-year-old municipal utility, to design, engineer, and construct our network. As a municipal light plant, WG+E prioritizes bringing high-quality service at the lowest possible cost. Through WG&E, Whip City Fiber is working to complete a construction design by Summer of 2018. Our Pole Applications have been submitted and the "make-ready" preliminary work has begun (July 2018). 

Wendell has also contracted with Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E) to provide certain and limited consultant and advisory services including assessing financial models, making best decisions during design phase, and eventually analyzing various business structures for the town when network becomes operational. 

Wendell is a member of WiredWest, a Cooperative of town MLPs joining together for operational efficiencies and cost savings. The coop is governed by delegates from the member towns for the purpose of delivering high quality broadband service to all residents of member towns and we continue to work with neighboring towns, including New Salem, Shutesbury, and Leverett, to regionalize our future network operations.

We encourage you to come to any and all meetings to learn more. The committee plans to have one or more town forums Q&A sessions in the Fall of 2018 to help all residents understand the details, feasibility, and impact of this exciting project. 

Wendell Ad Hoc Broadband Committee Agenda for April 11, 2012

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The Wendell Ad Hoc Broadband Committee will meet at the Town Offices on Wednesday April 11, 2012 at 3:30pm. The Agenda for this meeting is as follows:
  1. To discuss the letters from American Tower/AccessPlus regarding broadband services on the Locke Hill Tower.
  2. To discuss current developments with WiredWest.

Draft Minutes of the 6-27-2011 meeting

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Wendell Broadband Committee
June 27, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes
Meeting opened at: 7:15 p.m. at the Wendell Town Offices.

Members Present: Robbie Heller, Robbie Leppzer, Nan Riebschlaeger, and Benjamin Schwartz.


Info on Broadband Article For Wendell Town Meeting 12/15/10

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Robbie Leppzer, Chair, Wendell Broadband Committee

At our upcoming special Town Meeting on Wednesday, December 15 at 7pm, Wendell citizens will have an opportunity to vote to take concrete steps to develop a municipally-owned, fiber-optic high-speed broadband internet network for Wendell and other unserved towns in Western Massachusetts.

As Chair of the Wendell Broadband Committee, I co-led the original organizing efforts, with other broadband committee representatives from 47 unserved and underserved towns across Western Mass., to create the Wired West Cooperative.

Last June at our annual Town Meeting, Wendell citizens voted overwhelmingly to "enter into immediate discussions" with other Western Mass towns to create WiredWest.


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