For Immediate Release - May 06, 2008

Broadband Bond Bill Receives Favorable Report, Moves Closer to Vote in House

One of the Patrick Administration's top economic development priorities is moving through the Legislature. The Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets has released the broadband bond bill, clearing the way for a vote in the House of Representatives on legislation to bring high-speed Internet to every Massachusetts community by 2010.

Thirty-two towns in Massachusetts currently have no broadband access whatsoever and, as a result, area students and businesses face a significant disadvantage in today's global, knowledge-based economy. An additional 63 communities are partially served, with broadband available only in certain areas of the community. All but one of the completely unserved communities, as well as many of the underserved ones, are located in Western Massachusetts.

The legislation calls for the creation of a Massachusetts Broadband Institute within the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The Institute will administer the new Broadband Incentive Fund, capitalized by general obligation bonds, to invest in publicly owned broadband infrastructure such as fiber-optic cable and partner with private firms to deliver complete broadband solutions for residents and businesses.

Department of Telecommunications and Cable Commissioner Sharon E. Gillett and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Dan O'Connell played key roles in developing this critical economic development policy. On April 30 th, Commissioner Gillett headlined a town forum sponsored by the Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the Center for Public Policy and Administration and the National Center for Digital Government at UMass-Amherst. She focused on the different roles government plays in achieving universal broadband and discussed the significance of the broadband bond bill. Her presentation is available on DTC's home page pdf format of Government's Role in Broadband