Digital Equity

Shutesbury Summer 2024 Digital Equity Project

Your Broadband Team has been working with the Franking Regional Council of Governments to develop a Municipal Digital Equity Plan. The plan will help us understand barriers to internet access and affordability and help us obtain state grant funds.

Your participation is important because it will show active engagement from all the residents that use our municipal broadband system AND will give us data for how to best use grant funds.

Please go here to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LeverettShutesbury

We want to hear from you! Join us for the first public meeting to discuss the survey results and give your feedback.

Monday, July 29th: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Leverett Town Hall, 9 Montague Road
Light refreshments will be served, please RSVP:
https://forms.gle/VqTk9MiyjjpM95ed7

To join via Zoom:
https://bit.ly/levshutesdigitalequity
To call in: 1-305-224-1968 (Passcode = 711326)
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will filling out multiple surveys be more helpful or get us more access to the grand funds?

No, more than one survey per household won’t help and will make our data more inaccurate. Just one survey per household is best.

 

What is “digital equity?”

Digital equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. Digital equity is vital for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services. Basically it means doing our best to make sure that everyone who wants internet access can get it through affordable service, devices and the skills to use the technology.

 

How will this survey be used?

The results of this survey will be used to show active engagement from all the residents that use our municipal broadband system and help us understand how best to use the state-awarded grant funds to improve digital equity.

 

Has the grant already been awarded and how much is it?

We’ve already gotten preliminary approval and at least $56,603.00 has been set aside for our Town. This amount might increase but is unlikely to exceed $100,000. The next step in the process is to demonstrate engagement and analyze the data to decide how the funds will be used - which is what this town wide survey aims to do.

 

Will getting a grant raise our monthly broadband rates or taxes?

No, the broadband budget is self-supporting so the operating expenses are fully funded by subscriber fees, not taxes. The grant funds obtained from this project will be used to increase digital equity in our town by funding projects such as connecting the remaining homes, getting more shared devices in town, educational programs, or overall equipment upgrades. The grant funds will either reduce the cost for projects we were planning to do anyway, do them sooner or fund projects we couldn’t do otherwise. Your input on the survey will give us data to help decide how the funds get used.

 

What about the residents who don’t have any internet or email and aren’t receiving this message?

We are mailing out paper surveys to all of the households in Shutesbury that are not connected to ShutesburyNET. If you know of someone who is not online and who did not receive a paper survey by June 25th let us know so we can reach out to them and get them a paper copy. Contact info below.

 

More questions? Please contact: Ted Harvey, Franklin Regional Council of Governments (tharvey@frcog.org or 413-774-3167, ext. 165) or Gayle Huntress, Shutesbury MLP Manager broadband@shutesbury.org.