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Ad Hoc Technology Committee

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We're exploring Fiber internet for the Town of Southampton. This will be a years-long effort, but we are asking some interest questions to help us with the project.

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Calendar

June

General Responsibilities and Duties

Summary:

A committee, consisting of volunteers who have worked in, or currently work in, the information technology field, at least 5 of whom reside in Southampton.

The “Technology Committee” acts as an advisory group to the Select Board on town information technology subjects. The Committee would work closely with Town Department Heads and the Town Administrator to understand their needs and facilitate improvements.

Focus areas of the Technology Committee:

  • Town computing servers, networking, and data storage
  • Perform study on cloud-based vs. locally-based systems for Southampton
  • Review Wi-Fi system strengths and weaknesses
  • Inventory current PCs used by town employees
  • Create master list of computer inventory to formalize the computer upgrade schedule
  • Understand software needs specific to certain departments
  • Advise how the town data can be protected from cyber security threats
  • Evaluate town data infrastructure from a disaster preparedness standpoint
  • Evaluate community communication tools, such as the town website
  • Provide guidance on any potential fiber to the home or residential networking
  • Offer technology training for town members through classes etc.
  • Work with Grant Committee to pursue grant funding for IT upgrades

Committee Structure:

5-7 persons with technology experience, 2 of whom may be non-residents of Southampton with a Select Board member as liaison.

2023-2024 Report to the Select Board

Presentations

Whip City Fiber Westfield

HGE/SHELD Holyoke Gas and Electric-South Hadley Electric Light Department

Municipal Light Plant (MLP)

Ensuring broadband access and affordability of services for the town was the number one result of the 2022 ARPA Town Survey.   In response, the Southampton Ad Hoc Technology Committee started researching what other towns were doing to bring high speed fiber services to their communities.  The Committee learned that establishing a municipal light plant (MLP) would be the next step. 

What is a Municipal Light Plant (MLP)?

A town-owned company that can provide utilities services including telecommunications systems. The municipal light plant, if approved, would be able to provide internet to businesses and households in the town.  By law, the MLP may be governed by either a group of elected individuals (a Light Plant Board) or the Select Board, itself.

The town cannot form a municipal light plant without two town votes in favor in two consecutive years. This is only the first step in a multi-year process.  A potential positive vote would authorize but not require the town to further explore the possibility of establishing a municipal light plant.

Votes were taken at the Annual Town Meeting of June 7, 2022 and May 9, 2023 and the articles passed.

 

 

Members of Committee

Select Board Liaison -- Dan Lavalley

Position Name Term Expires
Chair Megan Gentile 2025
Vice Chair Dan Breen 2026
  Art Lawrence 2024
  Dan Lavalley 2024
  David Rooks 2026
  Kurt Neylon 2025
Town Administrator Scott Szczebak