Milton, Mass., Says ‘Yes’ to Municipal Broadband Utility

By a 187-20 vote, Town Meeting members in Milton, Mass., approved the creation of a municipally owned broadband utility. The Internet service itself will require another vote before it can start.

The entrance to the town offices building in Milton, Mass.
Milton Town Hall on Wednesday November 18, 2020 Greg Derr/ The Patriot Ledger
Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger/TNS
(TNS) — A town meeting took the first step toward a municipal broadband service by authorizing the establishment of a town-run electric utility.

Select board member Michael Zullas told Tuesday night’s fifth and final session of the town meeting that the state statute which sets up electric utilities is being used to create the Internet service. A second vote by town meeting is needed to start the service, either at the October special town meeting or next May’s annual town meeting.

There are no plans to offer electric service, he said.

Zullas said a municipal broadband service would bring “better, faster cheaper Internet service” with a range of services and prices. He said Braintree’s electric utility offers broadband service, Quincy has asked for proposals for one and Weymouth is also looking at the idea.

He said the municipal broadband committee hopes to present a business plan for the service at the October special town meeting.

The vote in favor of municipal broadband was 187-20.

In other business, the meeting approved a zoning change which could pave the way for 36 more apartments in a new three-story building in the Winter Valley housing for the elderly complex off Canton Avenue.

Ned Corcoran, a lawyer representing the complex, said that approvals would be needed from the appeals board, the planning board and the conservation commission before the complex could be built.

The meeting rejected a citizens petition proposal which would have exempted some senior citizens from paying the additional property taxes approved in Proposition 2½ overrides. Warrant committee Chair George Ashur said the proposal violates the state Constitution.

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