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Letter

Internet access is costly in Rindge

To the editor:

In response to the article “High-speed Internet project at a standstill due to town vote” by Karina Barriga Albring, published June 18: First of all, the title itself is misleading. The standstill is caused by the fact that the FastRoads project in Rindge is complete. Please go to their website and see the press release. It has nothing to do with the “town vote.” They are out of grant money.

Selectwoman Roberta Oeser keeps saying that the town can’t apply for any grants allowing for more broadband. To the best of my knowledge, there are no more grants available. If there were, don’t you think FastRoads would be all over them? If there is, please Ms. Oeser, state what they are. I have been to several meetings, and not heard of one. Is this behavior just a tactic to discredit Save Our Town?

The article alleges that FastRoads brought high-speed Internet to the Police Department, Rindge Memorial School and the library. At a recent meeting, the question was asked, “Are there any Rindge town buildings connected to this broadband?” The answer was, “No, it’s too expensive.” The fact is this broadband “pipeline” only runs by 467 homes in Rindge. This is less than 25 percent of residences. Out of those, only 80 have chosen to be connected. This project cost the American taxpayer over $2.5 million in Rindge alone. At that rate, with only 80 homes connected because of the high price to connect, and service rates, that amounts to over $31,000 per house. What a bargain. And now they want even more taxpayer dollars to run more lines that won’t be used?

This article, like others, has again misquoted me. I never said that I believe there is no need to expand service in Rindge. I did say that I believe, according to the Fast Roads press release, they have no intentions to expand service in Rindge. Frankly, there are not enough houses per mile to make it a lucrative business for ISPs. Another untruth in this article is the line, “voters also decided they didn’t want Rindge officials to receive any Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants.” Not true.

We want to be able to see what they are, and what strings are attached, before accepting. After this last round of HUD grants, it was revealed that town officials never read the whole contract, nor did they have legal counsel look at them. As far as “not having the tools” to apply for additional grants, I ask what grants? What tools? Oeser is quoted as saying, “getting geographic data from the Southwest Planning Commission is the most convenient approach.” I say, it might be convenient, but there are other resources. It might take a little more work, but isn’t that your job as an elected official? Maybe the real convenience is blaming everything on Save Our Town.

Larry Cleveland

Rindge

Larry, Nicely done! I was wondering when the sour grapes were going to start falling. Now the sulking sets in and nothing will get done and "Save Our Town" will be the scapegoat. I called to try to get onto the fiber link and was flatly refused. The internet issue should have been managed better from the beginning, to allow more people to get on and recoup some of the money. I guess we'll see what the future brings. Thanks, Dale Larocque

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