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Cummington Municipal Light Plant

FAQ General

Is there an address or email address that I can contact the MLP Board ?

Please send all correspondence to: Attn. MLP Manager, Cummington Municipal Light Plant, 33 Main Street, Cummington, MA 01026, or email to:

Who will own the Cummington fiber network?

This is not a regional ownership. The town owns this infrastructure. Cummington is building it, funding it and we will own it.

When will we have service?

Hopefully in 1st Quarter 2020

How much will it cost me?

Final costs are not firm yet since we do not have all the make ready estimates but the Cummington MLP is committed to providing true Gigabit performance at the most affordable cost possible. It is anticipated that most customers will be able to receive Internet and phone service for a similar cost to what they are presently spending for their existing Verizon landline phone and DSL and currently available Internet service such as Wild Blue, DISH or DirectTV satellite.

Can I decide later that I want service?

Yes, but there will be cost savings to pre-subscribe.

What happens to the $49 I gave Wired West?

WiredWest will refund the deposit if requested; see this link for more info.

Will broadband increase my property values?

According to several area realtors, the lack of broadband service is a major deterrent for people wishing to buy houses in Cummington. Estimates are that broadband should increase property values by 3-5%.

What about television?

With 1 GB service, programs can be easily “streamed” through your internet connection directly to your television.

Who sets the rates?

Unlike a commercial ISP, the Cummington MLP sets the rates.

What speeds will I get and what does that mean for me?

It is expected that you will get up to 1 gigabit service symmetrical (upload and download). Verizon DSL only provides 3 or 5 megabit service depending on your closeness to the CO in town the CO at the cemetary in West Cummington or the one on Route #112.

Will everyone be able to get service?

Our intention is to make service available to 100% of the homes.

Will Cummington Broadband bring service right to my house? What if I have a long driveway?

This is still to be determined and will depend on costs. Homeowners with non-standard installs may be asked to cover a portion of the cost from the street to the house.

Who will handle repair and service to the network?

The ISP will handle all service and repair.

Will the town's MLP be connected up to the state's fiber optic network? Is this something that is scheduled?

The connection to the fiber backbone is part of the Cummington fiber-to-the home project. The physical connection is part of the installation of the fiber that will run on the existing poles. The service connection will follow thereafter by the Internet Service Provider, Whip City Fiber. As each of these milestones is achieved, we will keep the community informed. We hope to have the service in place by January, 2020.

Will broadband give me cell phone reception at my home?

Regular cell service is not provided via the network; that’s an entirely different technology. However, some cell phones allow calls to be made via a WiFi connection. We will be offering a VoIP system for phone service. VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. Voice over Internet Protocol is a category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls.

What is the policy toward Net Neutrality for the choice of Network Operator and Internet Service Provider for Cummington?

The Cummington Municipal Lighting Plant (MLP) generally supports the goals of Net Neutrality. The MLP intends to provide Gigabit Internet service to Town residents without bias regarding content or “speed lanes.” The exact details of how the Internet Service Provider (ISP) contract will read are still being developed. None of the ISPs being considered are content providers, so “net neutrality” is not expected to be an issue. One should note, however, that any rules or legislation addressing “net neutrality” are ultimately Federal issues, which must be complied with.

What is the relationship between the Town of Cummington, Westfield Gas + Electric, and WiredWest during the construction, operations, and maintenance phases of this project.

We worked with Westfield Gas + Electric (WG+E) — a 100-year-old municipal light plant with substantial experience building, operating, and providing Internet services to Westfield residents on the design process. WG+E oversaw and hired contractors for pole survey, design, and engineering, in addition to providing procurement and construction project management support. WG+E worked on a fee basis for these preconstruction and construction phase services. The plan is for the make ready work to covered by the state grant; the state has made money available for cost over runs, and we have been informed that Cummington would qualify. Cummington MLP has hired TriWire to build our physical network.

Once the network is built, Cummington MLP will contract with Whip City Fiber, a division of WG&E, to administer, operate, and maintain the network, and to provide Internet, phone, and other services to customers.

The Cummington MLP has withdrawn from Wired West. WW was helpful in the grassroots effort to get funding to build the network for many underserved towns. However, the Cummington MLP has chosen to work with the team at WG&E and their subsidiary ISP Whip City, based on their track record and commitment to working with our town.