NEW ASHFORD -- The town is slowly moving closer to having high-speed broadband Internet.
Selectman Jason Jayko, a member of the town's technology committee, said during Monday's Selectmen meeting that 50 percent of town residents have submitted WiredWest support cards, enough to show there is sufficient interest in being part of the initiative.
Jayko said that while parts of New Ashford is already wired for DSL Internet, the service doesn't come close to what broadband would offer.
"If you have a family of three children, and they start having to do reports for school, forget it," he said.
WiredWest, a cooperative founded in 2011, has set the goal of creating a fiber-optic network that will enable high-bandwidth Internet to residents in its member towns. Forty-one Western Massachusetts towns in Berkshire, Hampden, Franklin and Hampshire counties have already joined the cooperative.
Support cards are distributed to residents of member towns to determine how many customers are likely to seek broadband services from WiredWest. Once completed, officials will have a better feel for how many customers will be served and how much revenue will be generated. That will help them determine the best way to finance the installation of the fiber optic network.
Jayko said another option for residents is HomeFusion broadband or a similar service. That technology uses the existing cell phone network for home Internet.
Selectman Kevin Flicker offered that some towns in the WiredWest cooperative, such as Egremont, don't even have adequate cell service.
In other business, the Selectmen discussed a loss of heat at the town hall. Selectman Ken Burbak said Town Clerk Lori Trottier alerted him about it being cold in the building, and Trottier ordered oil for the furnace. After discussion, the selectmen determined the oil tank was last filled in April.
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