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Many Richmond residents have no access to high-speed internet. A local telephone company wants to change that | Business







richmond telephone company fiber optic internet sign

Outside the Richmond Telephone Company office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected to a utility pole. The company is one of the few independent companies of its kind still operating in Massachusetts and has begun installing high-speed fiber optic internet for city residents.



RICHMOND – Until recently, Denise Mullen had never had access to high-speed internet in her home on rural Cunningham Hill Road.

“We’ve been using DSL here in our home for 10 years,” she said. “Are you old enough to know DSL? It’s not very nice when that’s all you can get. Everyone talks about streaming this and streaming that. You can’t do that with DSL.”

Mullen no longer has to worry about DSL. She’s now connected to high-speed internet through a project initiated by the last independent phone company in the Berkshires, which aims to bring that capability to the entire city.







taj monjardo leaning against a beam in the house

Amid renovations at Taj Monjardo’s new home in Richmond, he has made the switch from Spectrum Internet to Richmond Telephone Company’s fiber optic Internet service.



Richmond’s telephone company has begun installing the fiber needed to access high-speed internet for residents living in areas where it was unavailable earlier this year. So far, access has been granted to residents living on a few blocks, such as Cunningham Hill Road, which lie along both Summit Road and Route 295, where high-speed internet is already available through Spectrum.

But business owner Crista Proper said the company recently laid a fiber optic line to the city’s Richmond Shores area, which it hopes to connect this spring.

Proper’s goal is to eventually provide the entire city with high-speed internet access.







fiber optic cable reel

Outside the Richmond Telephone Company office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected to a utility pole. The company is one of the few independent companies of its kind still operating in Massachusetts and has begun installing high-speed fiber optic internet for city residents.



“We kind of started an edge-out strategy where we already had fiber because we jointly own a lot of the poles in the city, so it was easy for us to run our own fiber on the poles,” says Proper , which the Richmond telephone company announced in December 2020.

“So we’ve done it where it makes sense for us right now,” she said, “where we didn’t have a huge infrastructure spend and we can build on the fiber network that’s already in place to provide Richmond customers with possibility for fiber to home.”







fiber optic cable connected to power pole

Outside the Richmond Telephone Company office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected to a utility pole. The company is one of the few independent companies of its kind still operating in Massachusetts and has begun installing high-speed fiber optic internet for city residents.



Proper is the founder, president and CEO of Proper Connections in East Greenbush, NY, which owns Richmond Telephone. It is one of only three independent telephone companies still operating in Massachusetts, and Richmond Telephone’s roots date back to 1903.

Before starting her own company in 2011, Proper served as general manager of Richmond Telephone for ten years when the company changed ownership. She has upgraded Richmond Telephone since taking over and believes that providing high-speed Internet access to city homes is the best way to keep the business viable.

“We put a lot of money back to get it back on its feet,” Proper said. “Dial tone is obviously something you’re not going to build a business on. Broadband is really where I saw the future.”

The rollout has cost Richmond Telephone about $500,000 so far, according to Proper. She is interested in applying for federal and state broadband grants to help pay for the project, but Richmond was not previously eligible for those funds.







internet connections mounted on the wall

At Taj Monjardo’s home in Richmond, he transitioned from Spectrum Internet to Richmond Telephone Company’s fiber optic Internet service.



“We were pretty sure if we wanted to keep Richmond Telephone we really had to provide fiber because there’s nothing better than that,” Proper said. “If we’re going to spend money, why spend money upgrading an older technology? Let’s just buy the best technology out there.”

Taj Monjardo lives on Canaan Road (Route 295), so unlike Mullins, he already had access to high-speed internet through Spectrum. But he accepted his offer to offer fiberglass anyway.







fiber optic connection outside the house

At Taj Monjardo’s home in Richmond, he transitioned from Spectrum Internet to Richmond Telephone Company’s fiber optic Internet service.



“I’m just really happy to know there’s a local service I can call and get someone who lives in Richmond who cares about how my system works or cares about my local service, and that the money goes to the local people “, he said. .

“I had Spectrum and tried to cancel it and four months later I’m still trying to cancel it,” he said. “That’s why local service is so nice.”

Mullen rated Richmond Telephone’s service to date as an “A-plus-plus”.

“They’re always available to talk to you and always available to come out and see what the problem is,” she said.

She watched this year’s World Series on the YouTube TV streaming service, which she couldn’t access with DSL.

“Oh my God, the internet is just fantastic,” Mullen said. “I used to use Direct TV here with satellite service. Now that I have fiber I use it less.”

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