Community Cafe

Community CafeCome shrug off cabin fever and connect with your neighbors at the Community Cafe on Saturday February 6 at the Alford Town Hall 8:30-11:00am!

Hope to see you there!

Your hosts…
Shirley Mueller
Susanna Opper
Mary Poole

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Update from your Alford MLP Board

Fiber-Optic InternetUPDATE FROM YOUR ALFORD MLP BOARD
JANUARY 2016

2015 was a momentous year for the Alford Broadband Committee and its successor, Municipal Lighting Plant Board:

  • We received a design study from Matrix Design Group, laying out the proposed broadband network, which has proved very useful in our project.
  • By more than 90%, Alford residents approved authorization, and Prop 2½ debt exclusion, for borrowing up to $1.6 million for the installation of a high-speed fiber-to-the-home network. The Town also elected the five-member Municipal Light Plant Board, whose names are below.
  • The MLP Board evaluated a number of public/private options for our fiber network and ultimately decided to work closely with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), the builder of the so-called “middle mile,” the path through which the fiber content will come to Alford.

With this background in place, the Board has moved forward on a number of fronts and has a clear plan towards our goal of providing high-speed Internet and phone service to all Alford residents at reasonable cost. In that vein, we can report the following:

  • The MLP Board meets with MBI leadership and staff regularly, and holds weekly open meetings to plan and execute the necessary steps to complete the project.
  • The Alford MLP, the Town of Alford, and MBI are close to signing an agreement outlining our intent to work together to perform the necessary pole survey and license application filings with the pole owners, Verizon and National Grid. This work is expected to begin very shortly, so don’t be surprised to see signs of preparatory work in town.
  • MBI will work with other like-minded communities in parallel with the Alford project, provided that those towns can move forward at our pace. Regardless, MBI has committed to ensure that Alford is first in line.
  • We have working groups coordinating regularly with MBI staff in areas such as technology, finance, and legal.
  • An MLP Web site is under development to help you keep up with the Board’s activities. Until it’s formally launched, we’ll use the dedicated web page that has been set up at http://townofalford.org/category/mlp/, as well as Alford Assist and circulars such as this one.
  • We have continued to work closely with the Alford Select Board, Treasurer, and Finance Committee; the Town’s financial adviser; the Town’s municipal staff; and bond counsel to ensure that the project goes forward smoothly, under-girded by realistic financial budgets and projections.
  • We have filed the necessary papers to borrow the funds to finance the project, and expect the first draw to take place early in 2016.
  • Many unknowns in the project, some of which are likely to be out of our control, prevent a precise estimate of project completion. Nonetheless, our timeline at this point is to start the pole-related work necessary before fiber can be installed on the poles in 2016, followed by installation of the necessary electronics and fiber to each premise well into 2017, and aiming towards a late 2017 completion.

The Alford Municipal Light Plan Board:

Tom Doyle
Jim Hall
Bob Lichter, Chair
Joe Nicolosi
Jay Weintraub

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National Grid Community Connection Event

NationalGridNational Grid is sponsoring a Community Connection Event on Thursday, January 14th at the Monument Valley Regional Middle School from 6pm – 8pm. This is an opportunity for you to speak with Marcy Reed, National Grid’s President of Massachusetts and have your questions answered. Learn more about solar, ways to save money on your energy bill, and learn more about what National Grid is doing in your community! If you have specific questions regarding your bill, come speak with our customer service representatives that will be on site. For more information on this event, please visit http://www.ConnectingGB.com

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Missing Chairs from the Town Hall

Alford Town Hall

Alford Town Hall

Someone borrowed chairs from the Alford Town Hall without notifying the Selectmen’s Secretary (Debbie Blackwell), and she requests the said party to please return the chairs to the Town Hall as soon as possible. In the future, anyone who wishes to borrow chairs or tables from the Town Hall (or who wishes to reserve the Town Hall for a special event) please contact the Selectmen’s Secretary beforehand so that items can be tracked and event conflicts do not occur, etc. Your understanding and cooperation in these matters is greatly appreciated.

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MBI rescinds support of WiredWest

MBI-MTCThe Massachusetts Broadband Institute at Mass Tech Collaborative (MBI) is committed to partnering with towns to extend broadband service to residents and businesses, and has been working with Alford’s Municipal Lighting Plant in getting fiber-optic service to us in the near future.

In recent news, the MBI has been reviewing the WiredWest operating agreement and business plan, and based upon their review, the MBI believes that the current draft WiredWest operating agreement is not compatible with the best interests of the Commonwealth, the towns, or their residents.

The Alford Selectmen want you to know that the recent news about MBI rescinding support of WiredWest’s operating agreement does not affect Alford’s fiber-optic plans in any way. Alford is not part of the WiredWest cooperative and has not been for some time, however, MBI’s decision does affect other neighboring towns in our region that are part of WiredWest. You can read the MBI Statement on WiredWest Business and Operating plans for more information on MBI’s decision.

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