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







Richmond phone company fiber internet sign

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



RICHMOND — Until recently, Denise Mullen had never had access to high-speed Internet at her home on rural Cunningham Hill Road.

“We’ve been on DSL here at our house for 10 years,” she said. “Are you old enough to know DSL? It’s not very nice if that’s all you can get. Everyone’s talking about streaming this and that. You can’t do that on DSL.”

Mullen no longer has to worry about DSL. It is now connected to high-speed Internet through a project initiated by the last independently owned telephone company in the Berkshires, which would like to bring that capability to the entire town.







taj monjardo leaning on the beam at home

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



Richmond Telephone Co. began installing the fiber needed to access high-speed Internet for residents living in areas where it wasn’t available earlier this year. Access so far has been provided to residents living on a few roads such as Cunningham Hill Road, located off of Summit Road and Route 295, where high-speed Internet is already available through Spectrum.

But company owner Crista Proper said the firm recently ran a fiber pipe to the Richmond Shores area of ​​the city, 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 Co. office. on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is attached to a utility pole. The company is one of the few independent firms of its kind still operating in Massachusetts and has begun installing high-speed fiber internet for city residents.



“We started on a kind of edge strategy where we already had fiber because we co-own a lot of poles in the city, so it was easy for us to put our fiber on the poles,” said Proper, who bought Richmond Telephone Co. in December 2020.

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







fiber optic cable attached to the utility pole

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



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

Before starting her own business in 2011, Proper spent a decade as general manager of Richmond Telephone when the company was under different ownership. She has improved Richmond Telephone since taking over and believes that providing high-speed Internet access to city residences is the best way to keep the company afloat.

“We put a lot of money into the place to get it up and running,” Proper said. “Dial tone is definitely something you’re not going to build a business on. Broadband is really where I saw the future.”

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







wall mounted internet connections

At Taj Monjardo’s home in Richmond, he has made the switch from Spectrum Internet to Richmond Telephone Co.’s fiber Internet service.



“We were pretty sure that if we wanted to keep Richmond Telephone, we really had to get fiber to the home, because there’s nothing better than that,” Proper said. “If we’re going to spend money, why spend money to upgrade an old technology? Let’s get the best technology there is.”

Taj Monjardo lives on Canaan Road (Route 295), so unlike Mullins he already had access to high-speed Internet through Spectrum. But he took Richmond Telephone up on its offer to provide fiber anyway.







fiber optic connection to the outside of the house

At Taj Monjardo’s home in Richmond, he has made the switch from Spectrum Internet to Richmond Telephone Co.’s fiber Internet service.



“I’m very happy to know that there’s a local service that I can call and get someone who lives in Richmond who cared about how my system worked or looked after my local service and that the money is going to people native,” he said. .

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

Mullen rated the service provided by Richmond Telephone so far as “A-plus-plus.”

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

She watched this year’s World Series on YouTube TV’s 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’m using it less.”



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