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August 11, 2023

Winchendon joins Westborough institute’s broadband equity program

PHOTO | Courtesy of Google Maps Winchendon town offices

Westborough-based Massachusetts Broadband Institute has added Winchendon among its second round of communities to its Digital Equity Planning Program, which provides consultation to Massachusetts cities and towns to identify barriers to internet access and reduce the digital divide.

As part of its participation, the Town of Winchendon will identify those in the community needing financial assistance to access broadband, according to a Wednesday press release from the institute.

In May, the Institute, part of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, piloted the program with the first 35 cities and towns, including Leominster, Charlton, Phillipston, Royalston, and Templeton. Towns can choose to participate in either a short-term process with a lower barrier to entry, or a longer-term digital equity process, according to a Wednesday press release from the institute.

This second cohort includes 27 municipalities, bringing the total participating areas to 62. Along with Winchendon, new participants include areas of the Berkshires, which will work to identify families in their towns without internet equipment, and Chicopee, which will work on involving city departments in the process.

“We are committed to ensuring people all across our state are able to access the essential tools that allow them to compete in today’s economy,” Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao said in the press release. “Equitable access to broadband is an essential part of that work, and the expansion of the MBI’s program demonstrates that we are working to make sure that we reach that goal for every community.”

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