Like many broadband black holes, Western Massachusetts has spent years asking regional duopolies for broadband. Towns like Leverett, Mass. literally took to hanging signs around town begging Verizon to install even the slowest DSL. Of course Verizon not only refused to install Western Massachusetts, they froze deployment of effectively all FiOS fiber upgrades, leaving a large number of towns and cities (including Boston, Baltimore, Alexandria, Buffalo) without next-gen broadband — or in some cases broadband at all.
But, unlike many areas, Western Massachusetts decided to do something about it. In 2012 Leverett voters approved borrowing $3.6 million — or roughly $1,900 per resident — to deliver fiber to 800 premises. The initiative would be part of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s MassBroadband 123 “middle mile” network, a stimulus-funded project that spent the last few years running 1,200 miles of fiber-optic network connecting 123 communties. That project feeds the town of Leverett’s new, community owned ISP LeverettNet, giving a town that once didn’t have DSL gigabit speeds for $75 a month: