Nearly half of Greenfield, Massachusetts’s residents didn’t have access to internet service, and those that did found service unreliable and expensive. Comprised of 18,000 residents and 600 businesses, bringing every resident and business the bandwidth they need no matter where they are or which device they are using was no easy feat.
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“Town government officials constantly asked phone and cable companies to invest in broadband infrastructure for years,” said Dan Kelley, General Manager, GCET, reflecting on the initial ask by Greenfield Mayor William Martin back in 2011. “The town’s Main Street was out of capacity in many places, resulting in poor bandwidth for businesses—causing many of them to move elsewhere.”
Dan Kelley, General Manager, GCET
When the town lost the opportunity to serve as headquarters for a high-tech firm, Mayor Martin, the Town Council, and the citizens of Greenfield voted to create created Greenfield Community Energy and Technology (GCET), a non-profit, community-owned Tier 2 Telecommunications Service Provider to deliver low-cost voice, data, and Internet service to each resident and business.
To begin, Carousel and members of GCET spent time researching the ISP platform. The town was primarily a hybrid fiber wireless network and the goal was to build out a metro active Ethernet SD-WAN with fiber distribution. Together, they decided to use Juniper for all the networking. For home service, GCET decided to go wireless to home and fiber to the telephone pole to provide the fastest, most affordable, and most reliable service. The build-out was a complex fiber/wireless 10GE network requiring a unique integration of vendor solutions, requiring intense coordination.
“To truly maximize our offer to the residents and businesses of Greenfield, we knew we had to partner with a company that bounced around ideas and concepts we hadn’t thought of, and that’s where Carousel excels,” said Bill St. Denis, Chief Technology Officer, GCET, speaking of the non-profits desire to maximize budget and serve the town’s best interests. “Carousel had a full complement of experience we needed. From network design through switching and right down to the software experience required to implement an active Ethernet SD-WAN, the folks from Carousel provided expert advice.”
Greenfield Recorder: Read more about the GCET project and progress.
In total, the build-out took seven months, resulting in residents and businesses enjoying more reliable service without the high cost of commercial providers. Future plans include GCET collaborating with the town’s school district to promote computer literacy to community members.
Reflecting on the project’s success, Kelley said, “if we didn’t have the Carousel engineers working on the design, it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did. We are very pleased.”