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Broadband Event at Farmington River Regional School

Location: Otis, MA

Thank you, Pam for that warm welcome and for all of your good work at MTC. Thank you to Superintendent Austin, Principal Turo and all the to the students, teachers and parents here at Farmington River Regional school for the gracious welcome.

When I first started running for Governor 8 years ago, I met people from communities like Otis, or Goshen, where people who want to read their email or search the web come to the public library, usually for dial-up service. Few people had event that at home. I met kids who'd sit in the back seat of their parent's car and do their homework in the library parking lot at night, because that's the only broadband hotspot anywhere for miles. Many of you in this room today know what I am talking about.

High speed broadband is as necessary in this 21st century global economy an infrastructure as roads, and bridges. It is an educational necessity, an economic necessity, a medical necessity a public and commercial and a competitive necessity.

And we can no more afford to have a community without access to broadband internet than we can afford to have a community without access to a good school or a decent road.

And for all of those reasons, we, all of us committed, to bring broadband to those underserved parts of Massachusetts.

So in 2008, we created the MassBroadband Institute and started investing $40 million in conduits, fiber optic cables, and wireless towers. In 2009, we laid the 55 mile cable along I- 91, to serve as a back bone for underserved rural area. In 2010 we received a federal stimulus grant for MassBroadband 123 to extend the coverage to hundreds of thousands of households, 44,000 businesses and more than one million of our fellow residents.

This was all about making a choice to shape our own future, rather than just waiting to see what happens. We knew that broadband was essential for Massachusetts to remain competitive and to grow opportunity and we, as a Commonwealth, chose growth and that's why we're here.

Today is a remarkable accomplishment. We are lighting up fiber-optic connectivity directly to 1,200 key facilities in more than 120 western and central Massachusetts communities. That means schools, libraries, municipal buildings, public safety and health care facilities will now have reliable, fast internet access.

In the next couple of months, we will light up the rest of the network, providing broadband to thousands of more individuals, families and businesses.

That means teachers and children for whom educational materials are out of reach, families for whom news was once out of reach, doctors and graphic designers for whom images were once out of reach, businesses for whom customers were once out of reach, will now have brand new opportunities. You've waited a long, long time for this. Thanks to public investment and the private investment and partners who have come in alongside of us, you don't have to wait anymore.

And by the way, the rest of the world acknowledges the significance of this step. TechNet recently ranked us 2nd in their national broadband index, behind only California. Some of you know how competitive I am, 2nd sounds fine, 1st is better.

We have a lot of people to thank. Senator Downing and Representative Pignatelli, who are here among the represented, have been absolute champions of extending broadband service to underserved and unserved parts of our Commonwealth and their colleagues in the House and the Legislature gave us the authorization and the resources to make these public investments and we thank them for that leadership. Congressman Neal and Congressman Olver, who were right there alongside of us with the federal stimulus, and for people who don't think the federal stimulus made a difference and created jobs I tell you come here and talk to the people who benefited from this project and from the results of it. Thank you Congressmen for your work and for your support.

Judy Dumont and all of her team at the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative; Pamela Goldberg and all of her team at the Mass Tech Collaborative have developed and executed plan after plan and done it cooperative. The community advocates, local folks and together with private companies, and have done a marvelous job positioning us to take advantage of ways to leverage those state resources and we thank you so much for what you've done to bring us to this point.

And by the way, just so you all know, we have asked the Legislature for an additional $40 million for the last mile so that we can make sure that there's connectivity not just to every public institution, but to every home in western and central Massachusetts.

I have believed from the beginning that we have to govern for the next generation, not just the election cycle or the next news cycle. That's what our broadband initiative about, and that's what we will continue to fight for in order to leave our Commonwealth better than we found it.

I am so excited to be with you all today, congratulations on this milestone. Thank you all.

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