Own Your Internet
Community Owned Fiber Optic Infrastructure
Fairhaven Broadband Explained in 3 Minutes
[Please Note: The video below describes one of the possible municipal broadband models the Fairhaven Broadband Study Committee is evaluating. We have not concluded our research and have not made final recommendation to town leaders.]
A Message from Fairhaven's Broadband Study Committee
Reliable internet connectivity is essential in the 21st century. Just as electricity enabled the first industrial revolution, Broadband infrastructure (typically built with a fiber optic technology) is the foundation for the digital revolution. Residents in our town have been paying too much for mediocre access to the internet. As Fairhaven's Broadband Study Committee, we have made it a key priority to research the feasibility of establishing local control of this essential infrastructure. The goals of the committee for this project include the following;
1. Lower the cost of internet access by 25% - 30% for residents and businesses.
2. Significantly increase the speed and reliability of internet access.
3. Increase competition and give residents multiple options for ISPs on demand in real time.
4. Build a state-of-the-art network that will improve economic development and foster innovation.
5. Leverage the network to improve the services provided in the town including public safety, transportation, healthcare, education, emergency communications, and new services that will become possible with advanced network infrastructure.
The unfortunate reality is that the current dominant internet access model in our country is one where network operators build closed proprietary systems that are designed to maximize profit. Alternatively, construction of a Fairhaven Broadband Network utility seeks to maximize value and lower costs through competition.
Fairhaven Broadband Study Committee
Why Should Fairhaven Form a Municipal Light Plant?
Massachusetts State Law allows a city or town to borrow money to establish a telecommunications system, including internet infrastructure, to provide internet services. In order for the Town to build internet infrastructure, the Town is required by state law to establish a “Municipal Light Plant.” (Statute G.L. c. 44, §8(9))
A Town can establish a Broadband system by authorizing the creation of a Municipal Light Plant. The process to do this includes the following:
1. Town Meeting Members must vote affirmatively for the Municipal Light Plant, with a two thirds majority at each of two town meetings.
2. The two Town Meetings need to be held at intervals of not less than two months and not more than 13 months.
3. Once it has been established, the Select Board shall appoint a Manager or Light Plant Board to operate the Light Plant under the direction or control of the Select Board.