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News Briefs: Commonwealth, Charter finalize broadband agreement; MSPCA lauds Pittsfield

The Commonwealth grant will also support the extension of broadband and digital television service to an estimated 440 households in Hinsdale, Lanesborough and West Stockbridge that are currently without any broadband or cable television service.

Commonwealth, Charter to deliver broadband to three Berkshire towns

Westborough – On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $1.6 million grant to Charter Communications in order to upgrade and extend broadband access in the unserved communities of Hinsdale, Lanesborough and West Stockbridge.

As of that day, Charter has launched Spectrum Internet service to existing customers in those three communities. The Commonwealth grant supports this upgrade of Charter’s existing TV-only cable network to an all-digital network capable of delivering digital television and broadband to roughly 80-90 percent of existing households and businesses in the three communities.

The Commonwealth grant will also support the extension of broadband and digital television service to an estimated 440 households in Hinsdale, Lanesborough and West Stockbridge that are currently without any broadband or cable television service. The grant from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) is being made under the agency’s Last Mile Initiative, which has a goal of bringing broadband access to unserved residents and communities in Western Massachusetts.

Charter’s full expansion in Hinsdale, Lanesborough and West Stockbridge is expected to be completed within 18 months and, once completed, will deliver broadband access to approximately 3,400 residential and commercial premises. Charter expects to offer subscribers a service of 60/4 Mbps and 100/5 Mbps broadband service and triple play bundled packages with voice, video, and data service. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $3,900,000.

The grant was approved by the board of directors of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in June 2016. The funding for the Last Mile broadband program was enacted under Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2014, the 2014 Information Technology Bond Bill that provided MBI with access to state bond authorization for “last mile” projects. MBI has previously approved investments into last mile projects in the towns of Mount Washington, Middlefield, Royalston and Leverett.

–E.E.

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MSPCA commends Pittsfield for banning wild animals from circuses

Boston — The MSPCA-Angell has commended the city of Pittsfield for becoming the latest Massachusetts city to ban the display of exotic animals in circuses. The Pittsfield City Council’s vote on Tuesday, Aug. 9, joined Pittsfield with Cambridge, Somerville, Plymouth, Weymouth, Revere, Quincy, Braintree and Provincetown which have all adopted similar ordinances to ban wild animal displays.

Said City Councilor John Krol, “We know that isolating and confining these animals for long periods of time is inhumane and our city made a strong stand to say we will not support such practices. While opponents of the change cite the lost opportunity for children to see circus animals, I believe children are particularly saddened at the poor treatment of these wonderful animals.”

–E.E.

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Stockbridge, West Stockbridge, Richmond explore shared emergency, fire services

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The Selectboard took no action pertaining to the lawsuits following their 30-minute executive session on the subject.

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