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Posted on: June 8, 2022

Town of Amherst Receives Nearly $300,000 for Regional Municipal Fiber Expansion Project

Fiber optic cable and an ethernet port connection

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $13 million in grants through the Community Compact Cabinet Municipal Fiber grant program. These grants will benefit 86 municipalities and school districts across the Commonwealth, who will use the funds for the construction or completion of their municipal fiber networks to enable more efficient management of IT infrastructure and create opportunities to gain economies of scale by aggregating internet bandwidth purchases and associated security infrastructure.  

As part of the program, the Town of Amherst was awarded $295,925 to extend its existing municipal fiber network to provide fast, reliable, and secure network connectivity for the towns of Amherst and Pelham and their municipal and school facilities.  

The grant, whose proposal was submitted by staff from the Information Technology Department and the Office of Communications, comes after a recent successful Community Compact Cabinet IT grant award to upgrade the free downtown wi-fi system.  

Amherst Information Technology Director Sean Hannon, who was on hand last week at the award ceremony had said, “We are pleased that the State found our application compelling and worthy of funding. This project will enhance our existing investments to significantly save money and improve services for years to come in Amherst and Pelham.” 

The Director of Communications and Civic Innovation for Amherst, Brianna Sunryd added, “This funding will allow both Amherst and Pelham to build out a cohesive municipal fiber network and lays the groundwork for expanding our regional resource sharing opportunities between our two communities in the future.” 

The project will provide cost savings and improved technology at multiple sites including the Centennial Water Treatment Plant and a public safety radio tower. The Pelham Elementary School, Town Hall, Public Safety Complex, and Library will also see positive outcomes from the expansion of the fiber network.  

In addition to approximately $30,000 saved per year from increasingly strained town budgets, the fiber optic network expansion would provide dramatic service improvements. The project will replace soon to be obsolete public safety technology, reducing potential downtime of this critical service. The Town of Pelham will add high-speed and secure links between its key public buildings, allowing for centralized IT services.  

The water system will see benefits through enhanced physical and cyber-security upgrades to the essential infrastructure at the Centennial Water Treatment Plant. Both towns anticipate an overall increase in network privacy and security as part of the work, thereby reducing future cyber-security threats. 

About the Community Compact Cabinet

Formed in January 2015, the Community Compact Cabinet elevates the Administration’s partnerships with cities and towns and allows the Governor’s Office to work more closely with leaders from all municipalities. The Cabinet champions municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies, and develops, in consultation with cities and towns, mutual standards and best practices for both the state and municipalities. 

Questions? Contact Brianna Sunryd at sunrydb@amherstma.gov 

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