By Larry Parnass, [email protected]
LEVERETT — Inside a green metal building in Leverett, lightning-fast internet connections pulse through yellow-coated fibers, one per customer.
One strand belongs to Susan Valentine, an artist who lives down the hill on Long Plain Road in this Franklin County town.
“Man, it was a long time coming,” she said recently.
Another fiber threaded into the rack inside one of LeverettNet’s two electronics huts provides Kathleen Lafferty’s economic lifeline.
Nearly two years after Leverett first lit segments of its fiber-optic broadband service, this $3.7 million project is a point of pride for Lafferty — and most everyone in this community of 1,800.
Before, the mood bordered on shame.
“I couldn’t tell any of my clients what my office situation was, before broadband,” said Lafferty, a freelance editor who works from home and needed to receive large files. “I’d have to go to the library for downloads. It’s totally different now.”
When state officials arrived to help Leverett celebrate Oct. 2, 2015, they declared the town a model.
“Leverett shows it can be done,” said Eric Nakajima, then executive director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. “We look forward to building on their success in partnership with towns throughout Western Massachusetts.”