CHICOPEE — Ever since it was announced in 2019, Chicopee Electric Light has been rolling out its high-speed, demand-driven, municipal broadband solution.

“We responded to a public request for a competitive internet offering that would also be affordable and state of the art. At this point the project has gotten to self-sufficiency so what we are getting for income is allowing us to build the next area so the project is progressing on its own is a great thing,” Chicopee Electric Light General Manager Daniel Faille said.

Crossroads Fiber is locally built broadband that offers fast and reliable service to those interested in Chicopee.

Faille said that the city was broken up into 144 different “fiberhoods” or neighborhoods in Chicopee after conducting a feasibility study that most households were interested in having fiber offered by Electric Light.

Currently, the company has built about 88 fiberhoods in the city with each fiberhood reaching between 150 to 250 homes.

Faille added that the goal is to build around 20 more fiberhoods this year and estimates that all 144 will be completely built in 2.5 years.

Faille further explained how the fiberhoods are broken up geographically and why only half of a street may get the fiber installed initially.

He said, “Sometimes the lines look a little weird. We divide the homes into groups of eight so sometimes your saying, these eight, these eight, these eight, OK that’s 250, that’s our maximum we have to draw the line but sometimes you are halfway down the street. The reason is because that is where the groups of eight left us and we are doing the best we can do to address that.”

Chicopee Electric Light installs fiber in your neighborhood based in order of which neighborhood has the most interest first.

“What that is allowing us to do is get kind of a quicker return on investment and a revenue stream that we can then use to build the lesser interested areas,” Faille added.

To show interest in fiber installation in your neighborhood, readers can visit crossroadsfibernet. The process to install fiber takes about a month with the design phase, installation of the fiber on the telephone poles, splicing the line and testing the unit before opening the fiberhood for applications.

Faille also discussed the benefits of fiber internet.

“The biggest benefit of fiber is that it’s faster. At this point there is no theoretical maximum for the amount of speed which means all we would need to do to have the network upgraded in the future would be to change the electronics that are in the home and the electronics that are in our fiber central offices,” he said. “The other is the technology itself is fairly impervious to any type of interference. It’s not a copper-based system so isn’t affected by solar flares, it isn’t affected by florescent lights, it isn’t affected by rain or wind or anything that affect a copper system.”

Residents are not required to apply for fiber internet if they live in the neighborhood.

“It’s completely optional. The good news here is that our build isn’t affecting our electric rates. We are using different funding for that, so people aren’t paying for it, none of your tax dollars are being used for it,” Faille said.

He added, “If you are ready to participate, we are here for you.”

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