Greenfield Launches Technology Master Plan
GREENFIELD — The town of Greenfield announced recently that implementation of the town’s technology master plan is underway. The master plan, an initiative started by Mayor William Martin in the fall of 2010, is another step in the mayor’s continuing “Stabilize and Expand Greenfield” Campaign, an effort to create a sustainable and resilient community that also prepares for opportunities created by external forces in the form of jobs, grants, loans, and recreational, cultural, and societal enhancements, as well as upgrades related to infrastructure, buildings, and quality of life. The plan includes upgrading the town’s information-technology assets and building a town-wide ‘last-mile’ broadband infrastructure to serve every business and resident that chooses to subscribe. “This is the culmination of three years of independent research and planning,” Martin said. “We have read and reread the information, discussed with internal and external experts, and now seek to follow a pathway outlined by this research and discussion that will produce a new, technology-rich future for the town of Greenfield. It will allow us, as local providers, to serve our citizens and businesses in a proactive, efficient, and user-friendly manner. We will have the ability to provide Internet access to many of our citizens who cannot currently access the Internet today or are prevented from a rapid and broad connection.” Beginning in 2010, Martin and Economic Development Director Robert Pyers began an effort to focus on the town’s lack of telecommunications and information-technology infrastructure. They believed that an investment in technology would help spur economic development, enhance public-health and public-safety communications, increase quality educational opportunities, and encourage government efficiency and local democracy. Research had also shown that investing in technology would help the town retain technology-based businesses and spur a knowledge-based economy while helping residents take advantage of the global educational, economic, and entertainment resources available through the Internet. “Over the course of the past three years, we have engaged three consulting firms to plan our approach,” said Martin. “The three Massachusetts-based consulting firms include Kelley Management Group Inc. of Wilbraham, JFK Systems of Somerset, and the Skyline Group from Uxbridge. Each has completed their studies and presented their strategic recommendations, which we are now deploying.” Kelley Management Group produced a Municipal Telecommunications Business Plan, which recommends that Greenfield move forward as a municipal telecommunications services provider with full town ownership and control. KMG’s business plan suggests the town will provide the best telecommunications services to every municipal entity, business, and residence at the lowest possible cost. Martin has accepted this plan and is moving forward with the creation of a town-owned Greenfield Technology Division, which will operate a break-even business with reserves for investment into future capital expenditures. JFK Systems developed a comprehensive municipal information-technology strategic plan, which defines and coordinates how the town focuses its IT resources and provides a consistent process necessary to link the various IT departments’ plans and initiatives with the needs of the citizens of Greenfield. The Skyline Group produced a municipal LAN/WAN site-assessment report and recommendations for the town’s municipally owned and town-occupied buildings. This report gives an assessment, inventory, and analysis of current network infrastructure, along with the risks associated with the current deployment. It also provides recommendations to achieve network enrichments in preparation for the town’s new municipal telecommunications network and services. Implementation of the technology master plan is a three-step process that is currently underway. The process begins with upgrading and/or selecting new municipal IT business applications that support the town’s business processes and incorporate industry standards and best-practice functionality and technologies. The next step in the process involves a redefinition of the technical requirements of the newly selected municipal IT business applications — requirements such as CPU speed, memory, data-networking speed, storage, data management, security, data sharing, etc. — and then building an optimal IT infrastructure, including computers, printers, servers, local area networking, etc., required to support it. The final step is the town’s most ambitious and will have the greatest impact on the community: Greenfield will build a low-cost, high-speed ‘last-mile’ broadband infrastructure to support the town’s new IT infrastructure, and to meet the voice, data, and Internet needs of every business and resident.