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Today,reliable broadband Internet access is an essential service forboth businesses and residents. Companies rely on broadband Internet to conduct virtually all aspects of the business. Residents view broadband Internet critical to school, research and communicating with family, friends and the outside world. Cities that have widely available reliable broadband Internet access can attract newbusinesses andcitizens more easily. However, manytowns still do not have reliable broadband available and that creates challenges intoday’s digital economy.
Greenfield, a town in western Massachusetts, is like many other communities. According to Daniel Kelley, general manager of Greenfield Community Energy and Technology (GCET), “Greenfield is a manufacturing town that has lost many jobs over time and is losing residents. One critical challenge facing the town is its lack ofreliable, broadband Internet access. The existing broadband infrastructure is outdated and not capable of handling the bandwidth to meet the current requirements for businesses and residents.” Due to the rural nature of the town, there has been very little investment in broadband technologies. Roughly 40 percent of the community is underserved for broadband Internet and students lack adequate broadband due to affordability concerns. The lack of broadband access in the city is a hindrance to new businesses and citizens interested inmaking Greenfield their home.
Recognizing the need for reliable, broadband Internet access, Greenfield’s Mayor William Martin went on a mission to give Internet access to every citizen and business without any cost to the town taxpayers. The city and its citizens created GCETto carry out this mission.