Broadband coming to Royalston 

  • Royalston Town Hall and Common FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/18/2018 12:00:01 PM

ROYALSTON — The $1.4 million broadband installation project RoyalstonNet is set to bring high-speed internet throughout the town to 570 residences, town offices and schools.

“There are a lot of small businesses in town that are at a disadvantage because they can’t have access to the internet,” said Andy West, chairman of the Broadband Committee. “In my view (broadband) is what the telephone did for us in the early 21st century – it has become a requirement.”

The Selectboard announced the town has signed an Intergovernmental Owners Project Manager Agreement with Westfield Gas and Electric to provide management, construction and customer support service. 

“The Royalston Broadband Committee has been working with Westfield Gas and Electric, major wireless technology manufacturers and network engineering design companies, to explore and test which combinations of wireless technologies will work best for our heavily wooded, hilly terrain,” said John Hardie, project lead for RoyalstonNet.

Hardie said during the next couple of months Westfield Gas and Electric, along with the Broadband Committee, plan to complete on-the-ground testing and permitting to start construction of the project. This step will allow the town to decide a final construction budget and schedule.

“We have had several companies that are interested and have been taking the data from us already. They are working on it and will come back with a proposal and we will make a decision,” said West. 

Royalston received a $1.2 million grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the project. So far, $560,000 has been put forth for professional services and final engineering for RoyalstonNet. The town will provide $2750,000 to complete the project. 

“The Broadband Committee has put in more than seven years of hard work,” said Selectboard Chairwoman Christine Long. “Town residents are very eager for them to complete the network and very excited about the prospect of high-speed access.”

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