Thank to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for Episode 113 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Peter d'Errico of Leverett, Massachusetts. Listen to this episode here.
Peter d'Errico: It certainly is true that if taxes go up in a town that has a democratic form of government like a town meeting, it means that people have decided to do it for themselves. No bureaucrat decided to do this and tax them.
Lisa Gonzalez: Hello there. And welcome again to the Community Broadband Bits Podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez.
Peter d'Errico, a member of the Select Board in Leverett, Massachusetts, joins Chris this week. Peter's also chairman of the town's Broadband Committee. We first noticed Leverett, a town of only about 2,000 people, in the spring of 2012. The community was plagued by unreliable wireline telephone service and horrible cell phone coverage. Residents relied on dial-up, satellite, and DSL for Internet access. In fact, about 6% of the population had no Internet access at all. Community leaders, including Peter, knew they had to act or risk being left even further behind. Over the past two years, the town has worked toward deploying its own fiber-to-the-home network, to serve every home and business in the community.
People in Leverett decided to fund the project with a slight increase in property taxes. As Peter explains in the interview, the move will actually save money for subscribers, because current rates for inferior service are so high. This small town in Massachusetts is a powerful example of how one local community exercised its own self-reliance to establish a necessary service.
Here are Peter and Chris.
Chris Mitchell: Welcome to another edition of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Chris Mitchell. And today, I'm speaking with Peter d'Errico, from Leverett, Massachusetts. He's a member of the Select Board, and chairman of the Broadband Committee for an exciting project. Welcome to the show.
Peter d'Errico: Thank you. Good to be here.
Chris: I'm excited to have you on this show. We've been following your project for a long time. Why don't you tell us a little bit about Leverett, in western Mass, where you're located,...Read more