Greenfield Is Creating Its Own Internet

You do you, Western Mass.

When Greenfield mayor Bill Martin realized 40 percent of the town didn’t have access to internet, he had an idea—he’d create his own.

Five years ago, he hired Kelley Management Group to enable the town to be its own Internet Service Provider. Pacific Standard reports that while 60 percent of the town accessed the internet through Comcast/Verizon, the other half of the population either couldn’t afford services or simply didn’t need to. A new town-owned service, called Greenfield Community Energy and Technology, or GCET, will launch on July 1. According to the Greenfield Recorder, residents and business owners are expected to have access to the cheaper, town-run service by next spring.

“We’re in a world now where if you do not have digital communication, you’re in a big rut,” Kelley Management Group president Dan Kelley told Pacific Standard. He explains 80 to 100 miles of fiber will be built in Greenfield.

The rural, Western Massachusetts town has plans for a low-speed, mobile service that will start at $9.95 per device offering access anywhere within city limits. Home internet service will fall between $24.95 and $49.95 per month based on residents’ choices of upload and download speeds.

Mayor Martin’s requirement for the service is that it won’t cost taxpayers anything. While the town is providing the startup costs with a $5 million loan, GCET, which is a nonprofit, will return revenue to the town’s general fund, and plans to eventually lower rates.

Along with the unique trait of having its own internet, Greenfield is also home to one of the only remaining family-owned department stores in the country: Wilson’s.

You do you, Greenfield.