A foreign journalist from China was among those touring this small Franklin County community Wednesday to learn about the town’s innovative municipal broadband network, a fiber optic service which went live in March.
Zhang Wei, chief correspondent for the Economic Daily, took notes and asked questions as those involved in planning, marketing, financing, deploying, and managing the network spoke of their experiences.
The press event was organized by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, which works with 1,400 credentialed journalists from around the world.
The group, which gathered around a table at Leverett’s historic town hall, included selectman and broadband committee leader Peter d’Errico, town administrator Margie McGinnis, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative CEO Pamela Goldberg, Massachusetts Broadband Institute director Eric Nakajima, Crocker Communications president Matthew Crocker, State Department media relations officer Hyun Bo Sim, and Tim Haas, chief project engineer for Holyoke Gas & Electric, which is managing and operating the network.
On March 28, Leverett’s broadband network became functional, and now provides 1 gigabit service to around 675 of the town’s 800 or so households, said Haas. “That’s orders of magnitude faster than typical commodity Internet,” he said.