Cummington Municipal Light Plant Update –  June 2021

Network Construction Update

The design, engineering, and “make ready work” of the network began in 2017  The construction, and subscriber connection work began in 2018 and was substantially completed in January 2021.

The total project capital costs are: $2,833,243. See Capital Cost Analysis for a breakdown of project components. Sources to cover costs include: Town borrowing of $1,400,000.00; state grant funds of $1,033,000.00; and reimbursement from the Town of Windsor of $22,369.

Cummington also received $380,686 of CAFII funding that will be remitted to the town in installments over 10 years, beginning in FY 2023, and which will be used in the most appropriate manner depending on the need at the time of receiving the annual installment.

Located in 2 Main Street, Cummington’s telecommunications hub serves a state of the art fiber optic network. The network is 51 miles of fiber optic cables attached to 1,393 utility poles, and is capable of serving 100% of the 553 premises in town. Included in our project is a municipal network that connects the Community House, Safety Complex, Highway Garage, Library, recreation field, historical buildings, library and the water system wells and tanks.

Operational Update

We have partnered with Whip City Fiber, a subsidiary of Westfield Gas +Electric, to operate our fiber network and provide services. We offer residential giga-bit internet service for $85/month with optional VOIP phone for an additional $14.99/month (plus applicable taxes and fees). A typical residential bill is $105/month.

Of the 593 potential premises in Cummington 361 are currently connected to the fiber network.

As part of the CAFII funding we offer the federal “Lifeline” program which provides a $9.25 monthly credit to income eligible households. We will participate in the federal “Emergency Broadband Benefit Program” which will provide a temporary $50 monthly credit to households who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

We continue to work with our neighboring towns and with Whip City Fiber and with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) to ensure the resiliency of our network and to urge upgrades to the “middle mile” that our town relies upon for ultimate access to the world wide web.

Operating Budget:

All direct network operating expenses are covered by subscriber revenues. Direct expenses include stipends for the manager (total $12K); costs to serve each customer ($126,249.48); backhaul, pole bonds, insurance, maintenance/repairs $96,228.46); and an allowance for unforeseen costs $18,000. The total estimated costs for FY 2022 of $176,494 is the MLP Budget.

Cummington Municipal Light Plant – Summary of Capital Costs for Fiber Network
Project Timeline: March 2018 – January 2021
Expenses Expense Description Actuals
Design and Engineering Data collection/route validation/pole attachment heights (pole survey);strand maps, fiber and splice design $117,885.28
Project Management Procurement and construction phase oversight of network distribution and drop contractors $140,343.04
Make Ready Fees to Eversource and Verizon (license application, make ready); pole bonds FY2018, FY 2019, FY 2020; pole application processing by WG+E $618,516.00
Hub Site work, convert room to hub , generator, HVAC, propane, interior racks and electronics $292,243.57
Fiber Network Labor and materials to string strand and fiber from hub to “curb” passing every premise including MSTs and extensions. $1,050,116.78
Service Drops and Cold Drops Labor and materials to string fiber from MST at “curb” to NID (to outside of premise)
Labor and materials to connect NID to ONT and router (from outside to inside premise), standard installation, nominal interior wiring, phone setup
Hillside Terrace Build an underground network to service Hillside Terrace $26,167.76
Municipal Network Construction and Engineering for our Municipal Network connecting all Town buildings, all Water Dept wells, Library, and Historical Assoc. buildings $22,591.81
Total Expenses $2,498,842.80


Cummington Municipal Light Plant – Summary of Capital Costs for Fiber Network
Project Timeline: March 2018 – January 2021
Revenue Revenue Description Actuals
2015 Town Debt Override Town Meeting Authorization May 2015 Annual Town Meeting authorized borrowing UP TO $1.4M $1,370,000.00
EOHED Grant Grant from EOHED May 2017 Award, less completion holdback $840,000.00
2019 Transfer from Stabilization Special Town Meeting vote to transfer from Stabilization Account to pay all “drop” costs for “cold drop” and “service drop”. Authorized transfer up to $400,000.00. $400,000.00
2020 EOHED Drop Compensation Payment of $500 per “drop” up to 70% of drops/connections. $193,550.00
Total Revenue $2,803,550.00