A new grant from the state will help the town pay to string fiber-optic cables into the village of Housatonic for high-speed internet. The construction and service will be provided by Fiber Connect of the Berkshires, and possibly ready by fall.

GREAT BARRINGTON — Housatonic will soon join the ranks of Berkshire County communities with a high-speed fiber-optic network.

The hope is that the new service will be up and running by fall, but that depends on the timing of utility pole replacements, according to Adam Chait, founder and CEO of Fiber Connect of the Berkshires, the company that will run the service.

The town announced on Thursday that a $250,000 grant from the Healey-Driscoll administration will help pay for the $700,000 project to run fiber-optic cables along Route 183 from Route 7, and into Housatonic’s village center.

The town was one of 53 cities and towns to received a total of $9 million from the Community Compact Municipal Fiber grant program.

Voters at the 2023 annual town meeting approved a $250,000 match, and Fiber Connect will cover the remaining $200,000, according to a release from the town.

The town for at least five years has been trying to bring high-speed broadband to the village to support modern-day needs and the possibility of redevelopment of its industrial mills complexes.

Fiber Connect’s service delivers 1 gigabit per second, or Gbps — that translates to 1,000 megabits (Mgps) per second of download speed, and 250 Mgps of upload speed for residential customers. The cost is $99 per month.

For business customers, the service will provide 1 Gbps of download speed and 500 Mbps of upload speed for $149 a month.

Fiber Connect's Adam Chait

Fiber Connect’s Adam Chait, in 2017, opens up a “can” with fiber cables that will link homes to a fiber-optic network operated by the company in Monterey. Chait has been installing the cables around the Berkshires, and will now do the work in Housatonic.

There is also a half-price option for those who qualify for the company’s low- and fixed-income program, Chait said.

He hopes to have the work done by fall, but is “beholden” to National Grid and Verizon, which have to first complete the “make-ready” work that involves replacing poles or making them ready for the new cables.

The longest stretch is on Route 7 from Belcher Square to the Community Health Programs center, Chait said.

His applications to those companies have been approved, he added, and that work will start in a week and move by sections throughout the summer with a hoped-for completion in August.

When that’s done, Chait said his crews can start their construction, which should take around two months.

Town Planner and Assistant Town Manager Christopher Rembold has been keeping the project on tracks for years. He said that this new service will help Housatonic with future growth, among other crucial things.

It will “connect municipal buildings and emergency facilities in Housatonic with those in Great Barrington,” Rembold said. “And, this will provide a fiber optic-backed Wi-Fi network in the Village, helping to plug cell phone dead spots and signal gaps that many experience in Housatonic.”

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