WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Fiber Broadband Association today announced its latest Broadband Community Profile designed to uncover the economic and societal impact that fiber broadband is having on rural communities across North America. Conducted by Futuriom Research and sponsored by OFS, the study shows the city of Westfield, Mass., has realized over $88 million annually in job-related benefits from the installation of fiber optic broadband.
Westfield Gas & Electric (WG&E) is the owner and operator of Westfield’s fiber network. In the 1990’s, WG&E leveraged fiber to implement a SCADA network to automate utility services. It leveraged that previous experience to launch Whip City Fiber in 2015. It received permission from the Westfield City Council in 2017 to petition for a $15 million bond to fund the rollout of fiber infrastructure that would cover 70% of the city. The success of the project propelled Whip City Fiber into a leadership position for the surrounding communities in 2018. The service provider become a network project manager to 20 municipalities in the Western Berkshire Mountains region that wanted to replicate WG&E’s fiber network.
“We wanted to offer an internet service to Westfield that was future proof and cutting edge. To accomplish that, we knew we needed fiber,” said John Leary, Information Technology Manager at Westfield Gas & Electric. “Today our fiber network has generated over 4,600 work-from-home jobs for a city of 41,000 people, provided high-speed broadband to the public school system, increased home values, and brought new businesses and economic development into the city.”
Whip City Fiber now spans over 152 miles of network and delivers symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband speeds. Several local businesses lease dark fiber from Whip City for their operations, including medical facilities, a regional bank, and a local manufacturing firm with multiple sites in the area. The service provider generates between $2 million to $4 million a year in revenue which is invested in expanding the network and delivering broadband to more city residents. By 2025, Whip City Fiber expects to deliver broadband internet service to all of Westfield and expand speeds to 10 Gbps.
“Fiber broadband delivers substantial financial value to smaller towns, especially those that have faced economic challenges,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President, Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “WG&E and Whip City Fiber have created jobs and substantial value to the region through the deployment of its fiber infrastructure. They have acted as a leader for the surrounding area on how to implement high-speed broadband, illustrating how communities and utilities benefit from fiber.”
The Fiber Broadband Association’s Broadband Community Profiles are an ongoing series of reports by the Association’s Fiber Advisory Program. You can find the full Westfield Broadband Community Profile available for download here. For more information about the Fiber Broadband Association’s Fiber Advisory Program, or to inquire about becoming involved, partnering, or sponsoring new research, please contact Deborah Kish at [email protected]
About the Fiber Broadband Association
The Fiber Broadband Association is the largest and only trade association that represents the complete fiber ecosystem of service providers, manufacturers, industry experts, and deployment specialists dedicated to the advancement of fiber broadband deployment and the pursuit of a world where communications are limitless, advancing quality of life and digital equity anywhere and everywhere. The Fiber Broadband Association helps providers, communities, and policy makers make informed decisions about how, where, and why to build better fiber broadband networks. Since 2001, these companies, organizations, and members have worked with communities and consumers in mind to build the critical infrastructure that provides the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver. The Fiber Broadband Association is part of the Fibre Council Global Alliance, which is a platform of six global FTTH Councils in North America, LATAM, Europe, MEA, APAC, and South Africa. Learn more at fiberbroadband.org.