After years of studying the merits of building their own broadband internet service, Williamstown officials are ready to take the conversation to public forums, then possibly to a town meeting vote next year.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports  research so far suggests that within five years, a new fiber-optic network could bring in enough revenue to cover borrowing and operational costs, Andrew Hogeland told his Select Board colleagues Monday night.

Hogeland said forums will be scheduled starting in September to gauge public interest in internet speeds that would be 10 to 100 times faster than what's now available through a private company, Charter Communications.

But he cautioned that questions remain about financial assumptions used in an ongoing feasibility study by a consultant, DesignNine. One missing link is the "take rate," the term for the number of premises along a network's route that opt in for service.

Another is the price that people will be willing to pay.


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