Leverett, Mass., will improve its existing fiber-optic network by the start of the new year, boosting peak speeds from one gigabit to two gigabits, and dropping the price from $45 per month to $40, according to a report in the local Recorder newspaper.
A small town in central Massachusetts, just north of Amherst, Leverett has fewer than 2,000 residents, making it among the smallest in the country with its own municipal gigabit fiber network.
LeverettNet broadband and phone service have been available since October, and the town is the first in Massachusetts to complete last-mile service connecting it to the MassBroadband 123 “middle-mile” fiber network funded by federal and state grants. About 650 out of 800 households signed up for the service initially.
However, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which runs MassBroadband 123, denied permission for a further build-out of the network last week. Those plans would have seen service extended to roughly 24 other rural communities, the Recorder reported. The group said that those plans put too much power in the hands of WiredWest, a networking cooperative of area towns, instead of allowing the individual municipalities to own them.
Leverett is one of a very few U.S. towns or cities to implement a publicly owned fiber network. Others include Chattanooga, Tenn., and Longmont, Colo. Municipalities often face legal challenges from telecom heavyweights, which have worked to help pass restrictive laws in many states.