Lt. Governor Polito addresses lack of broadband in Franklin County

The state is providing a $4 million grant to five Franklin County towns to fund broadband construction projects

SHUTESBURY, Mass. (WWLP) – Broadband Internet access: many rural Franklin County towns don’t have it. Some residents have DSL, but even that doesn’t seem to be reliable.

“It’s still a challenge and things are very slow you can’t download movies and things like that because its impossible,” said Ellen McKay, Shutesbury resident and Town Collector.

Lt. Governor Kayrn Polito met with town leaders from five Franklin County towns in Shutesbury Tuesday, to address this problem. The state is providing a $4 million grant to Shutesbury, Wendell, Colrain, New Salem, and Leyden to fund broadband construction projects.

“This is transformational for these communities to be able to connect, they can run a small business form home, connect classrooms to the internet, and no community should be left out of the equation, said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

For many residents in these rural Franklin County towns like Shutesbury, going online is a huge challenge. These towns hope that with the state’s support, that will soon change.

“We have almost no broadband, and in fact we have none,” said Gayle Huntress, Co-Chair of Shutesbury’s Broadband Committee. “We have partial town coverage and slow DSL, but it’s not broadband.

The broadband construction project is scheduled to begin late next year in Shutesbury. The state will fund one third of it, but the rest of the money will come from taxpayers.

These towns could be able to finally connect to the Internet as early as 2019.