Comcast to set up broadband network in Montgomery

96% residents should be able to connect by the end of next year

Montgomery Town Hall is seen here in a file image from the Westfield News. (Photo by Amy Porter/The Westfield News)

MONTGOMERY, Mass. (WWLP) – High-speed internet access has been difficult to obtain in many of western Massachusetts’ rural communities, but residents of one western Hampden County town will be able to take advantage of it in about a year and a half’s time.

Comcast has entered into an agreement with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to build a broadband network in the town of Montgomery. The network is expected to provide connectivity to about 96% of the town’s 838 residents. In the coming weeks, the town government is expected to sign a cable franchise agreement with Comcast so that the work can begin.

The network will be constructed at no cost to the town, which may otherwise have had to invest about $950,000 into the project. MBI is awarding Comcast up to $805,000 to complete the work of setting-up the network. The goal is to have everything finished by the last day of 2018.

“Broadband is key to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth’s rural areas, and its availability has been elusive,” Montgomery Select Board Chair Dan Jacques said in a news release sent to 22News. “We in Montgomery are pleased with the significant process made towards the goal of bringing broadband to our town.”

This is the second major grant that Comcast has received under the state’s “Last Mile” program to provide Internet access to underserved communities. The first was a $4 million grant awarded last year to improve access in the towns of Buckland, Chester, Conway, Hardwick, Huntington, Montague, Northfield, Pelham, and Shelburne.