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State,Worthington Select Comcast for Town’s Broadband Project

WESTBOROUGH  The Mass. Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI) has formally approved an award of $2.2 million to Comcast to support the construction of a broadband network in the town of Worthington.

The grant, which was approved by both the MassTech Executive Committee and by the MBI Board of Directors, followed a majority vote at Worthington’s town meeting in May choosing Comcast and supporting the construction of its advanced fiber network to deliver broadband to the town, including approval of a project coverage map. Comcast and Worthington also signed a formal Cable Franchise Agreement on Dec. 11. The proposed broadband network will deliver expanded connectivity to over 96% of Worthington’s residential and business premises once the project is complete.

Under the grant agreement, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will provide an award of $2,213,809 from the Last Mile program, funds which will supplement Comcast’s capital investment in the construction of the Worthington network. The MBI will utilize Worthington’s original Last Mile allocation of $1,070,000, with the remaining funds coming from additional investments from both the Commonwealth and the town, utilizing an agreement which will allow the town to contribute year over year without having to use municipal bonds.

“The Last Mile program has made great progress in identifying and funding projects that will help close the connectivity gaps in these towns, through public-private partnerships like this, and through the Commonwealth’s support for municipal-owned networks in 20-plus towns,” said Governor Charlie Baker. 

As part of the grant agreement, the Commonwealth provided an initial disbursement of $20,000 for Comcast to complete field surveys in Worthington to determine which of the town’s residential premises were serviceable, helping identify the target of 96 percent of the total residential premises along public roads in the town. Following that assessment, Comcast presented its findings to the Worthington Select Board, which reviewed and approved the preliminary coverage maps, leading to the official signing of the Cable Television License Agreement between the town and Comcast. Under all public/private awards in the Last Mile program, local approval is a key step to state funds being awarded.

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