The Massacusetts Library System has been providing support to the public libraries in conjunction with the Massachusetts Broadband Project. The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) in January 2014 has after 3+ years, completed the work to extend affordable high-speed (fiber) internet access to homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices and other public places across the Commonwealth! The MBI has built the MassBroadband 123 network to expand broadband connectivity to over 120 communities in western and north central Massachusetts. Nearly all of these 120 communities include a Public Library as a Community Anchor Institution (CAI) for the installation of the high speed fiber.
August 2014: Nearly all Libraries in the MassBroadband123 area are live with high-speed fiber! Whether a CWMARs member library, or a MassCat member library, as well as the many small public libraries that are not resource sharing/network members, the jump over the digital divide is nearly complete!
10 Libraries are live (January 2014). From Agawam to Mt. Washington, Public Libraries in the “corner of the Commonwealth” are live with high-speed fiber Internet.
The MBI January 2014 newsletter has a “Status Tracker” listing the newest dates for “go-live” by town: Click here As of January 15, 2014, all segments are completed and ready to go live. The network has been turned over to Axia, the network “owner” of the MBI fiber. It is estimated that most segments of the new fiber network will be ready for the ISPs to add thier customers by the end of May 2014.
The MLS applied for and has received (Gates) Grant Funds from the MBLC for this Project. The funds include providing training to the 100+ Public Libraries participating in the MassBroadband123 project. Please visit our Event Keeper Calendar for a complete listing of trainings and Continuing Education. July and August 2014 will be full of webinars (and in-library training) on all things web and high-speed internet: Social media apps, VideoConferencing, Technology planning and more.
There are many community and state-wide organizations supporting this initiative, as well as a similar broadband project in the former Southeast Region. CapeNet has built a high-speed fiber optic OpenCape Network in southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.
Visit our MLS Broadband guides for more free training, FAQs, schedules, more digital literacy information for your library, and all things wireless: http://guides.masslibsystem.org/index.php
The MLS has assisted non-networked Libraries with upgraded wireless access points via the MBLC grant funds. If your library is not a member of the CWMARS network, we have already replaced your wireless network to be able to support the faster fiber speeds!