Why Should You Vote
YEs on Article #34
In Town Meeting June 18th
Voting Yes for Article #34 will allow the Town to continue its process of evaluating the feasibility of building a fiber optic network to get lower costs, faster speeds, and more competition for access to the internet for residents and businesses in Fairhaven.
The Pandemic has made it clear that:
Internet Infrastructure is Essential
Many People Will Continue to Work from Home
Existing Old Infrastructure is Inadequate
Fairhaven Town leaders recognize the importance of internet infrastructure to economic development and to the future livability of the community. For that reason, the Board of Selectmen organized a Broadband Study Committee. Over the past 18 months, the Broadband Study Committee has been developing a Broadband Plan for the Town.
Through the planning process, the Broadband Study Committee learned that Massachusetts State Law requires any City or Town that is thinking about building its own internet infrastructure to first establish a “Municipal Light Plant.” This name is a historical name that goes back to the time when areas of the State that did not yet have electricity and could build a local electrical power system to give residents electricity. Over time, the law also encompassed telephone services. Today the Municipal Light Plant statute in Massachusetts allows for a Town or City to build internet infrastructure.
The Process of Establishing a Municipal Light Plant
Why Should You
The Town of Fairhaven can establish a Municipal Light Plant by doing the following:
Holding a vote at two Town Meetings where at least two thirds of Town Meeting Members vote to establish the Municipal Light Plant.
The two votes must be at least two months apart and cannot be more than 13 months apart.
If a Municipal Light Plant is approved, the Selectmen can appoint a Manager or Light Plant Board to operate the Light Plant under the control of the selectmen.
If the Town Meeting members vote to establish the Municipal Light Plant, the Town will then launch an effort to see how many households in Fairhaven would sign up to participate in the network. Establishing the Municipal Light Plant will be funded with money that was approved last year for this project and it doesn’t obligate the Town to do anything. It simply allows the Town to continue the process of evaluating whether a fiber optic network is feasible. The project will be feasible if it has the support of around 40% of the property owners in Fairhaven.
Again, a yes vote on Article #34 would be the first of two required votes to establish a Municipal Light Plant.
If you are a Town Meeting Member, consider that more than 600 people responded to the survey with a strong majority in support of moving forward with this process. Voting Yes for Article 34 will allow the Town to continue to evaluate the feasibility of building a fiber optic network to get lower costs, faster speeds and more competition for access to the internet.
If you are not a Town Meeting Member and this is important to you, reach out to the Town Meeting member that represents your precinct and express your thoughts on Article #34.