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FRCOG has been an active leader in regional broadband access equity issues since the “digital divide” emerged as a significant challenge for the region in the 1990s. Through partnerships with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) and WesternMA Connect, Inc., the FRCOG supports efforts to deploy broadband infrastructure in the region and encourage the adoption of advanced broadband services. The MBI was created by the state legislature and Governor Patrick in 2008, with the mission to expand affordable broadband access across the Commonwealth.  A timeline of work conducted by WesternMA Connect, Inc. and previous Connect efforts with FRCOG describes activities undertaken from 1997 through 2016.

The MBI completed construction of the MassBroadband 123 network, which is a fiber-optic middle mile network that dramatically changed the business model for how last mile providers can serve unserved areas, and provides a direct fiber connection to over 1,200 community anchor institutions (CAIs) in western and north-central Massachusetts. Working with the MBI and Connect, the FRCOG produced the “Innovative Uses of Broadband in Your Community” guide to inspire municipally-based CAIs to think about how they could use next generation broadband services in their community.

Executive Director Linda Dunlavy is a gubernatorial appointee to the MBI Board of Directors. FRCOG continues to support efforts to more robustly use the advanced telecom infrastructure available in the region as well as to bring broadband access to the last mile in the unserved and underserved communities of Western Massachusetts.

Headshot of Jessica Atwood.

Jessica Atwood

Economic Development Program Manager
Linda Dunlavy headshot.

Linda Dunlavy

Executive Director
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