Broadband concerns put private providers in spotlight

Full and original article posted on Berkshire Eagle

In a pandemic that has forced many aspects of daily life online — from work to school to doctor’s appointments — efforts to build out broadband infrastructure still face challenges, with private providers hesitant to invest in some unserved areas and lawmakers calling for the internet to be treated more like a public service going forward.

“There is no way that the state has done enough to close the gap, the digital divide in the Commonwealth that used to apply mostly in our minds to rural and underserved areas,” Sen. Adam Hinds said. “And now the emergency of the digital divide in our downtowns is even more apparent.”

The Democrat whose district encompasses Berkshire County and parts of Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties told the News Service this month that he is developing a bill to study the possibility of making broadband a utility in the Bay State. Hinds said the health crisis has underscored the urgency of ensuring that every resident has guaranteed access to the internet.

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