Build Better Broadband
Boston, MA: Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)
MAPC, representing the cities of Chelsea, Everett, and Revere in Greater Boston, is one of 6 grantees of the Build Better Broadband (BBB) program, formed in partnership with EntryPoint and Biarri Networks to fund planning grants in diverse, low-income, and historically underserved communities where municipal networks, community networks, or social enterprises can expand affordable, reliable connectivity.
Learn more about the BBB program and all grant recipients.
Building Better Broadband in Chelsea, Everett, and Revere
MAPC, the regional planning agency serving Greater Boston, is working with the cities of Chelsea, Everett, and Revere to advance digital equity. A digital equity plan for the three cities documented that most low income households face affordability challenges when it comes to internet service, and the existing utilities’ fiber optic networks fail to reach over one-third of households, even in these dense urban municipalities. Establishing a municipal fiber network that provides affordable connections at every home was a key recommendation of that report. The Build Better Broadband report establishes a roadmap for municipal actions that will improve service quality and bring down costs of connectivity. This will include exploring municipal investment options and new models for infrastructure that will increase competition and give residents a greater choice of internet service.
Moving forward, MAPC will be working with the three municipalities to install free Wi-Fi systems, distribute modern devices, and provide digital literacy training. With the digital equity plan and the Build Better Broadband report in hand, MAPC and the cities will be well-positioned to secure ARPA, BEAD, and DEA funds to help close the digital divide.
Tom Ambrosino, Chelsea City Manager, said: “When COVID shuttered schools, many students in Chelsea lacked sufficient bandwidth to participate. Residents fortunate enough to be able to work from home struggled with the quality and reliability of their connections. Sadly, we cannot rely upon market forces to solve this problem in our communities — so, our city will build the solution. The Build Better Broadband grant will help Chelsea, Everett and Revere plan for the infrastructure we need to make high-speed, quality internet access available to every resident at a reasonable, affordable price.
Chelsea Digital Access Plan
Sadly, we cannot rely upon market forces to solve this problem in our communities — so, our city will build the solution.
Tom Ambrosino, Chelsea City Manager