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







richmond telephone company fiber internet sign

Outside of Richmond Telephone Company’s office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected 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 town residents.



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

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

Mullen doesn’t have to worry about DSL anymore. She is now hooked up 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 against beam at home

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



The Richmond Telephone Company began installing the fiber needed to access high-speed internet to residents who live in areas where it wasn’t available earlier this year. Access so far has been provided to residents who live on a few streets like Cunningham Hill Road, that are located off both Summit Road and Route 295, where high-speed internet is already available through Spectrum.

But company owner Crista Proper said the firm has recently run a fiber pipe down to the town’s Richmond Shores area, which it hopes to connect this spring.

Proper’s goal is to eventually provide the entire town with access to high-speed internet.







fiber optic cable spool

Outside of Richmond Telephone Company’s office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected 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 town residents.



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

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







fiber optic cable connected to utility pole

Outside of Richmond Telephone Company’s office on State Road, a spool of fiber optic cable is connected 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 town residents.



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

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

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

The rollout has cost Richmond Telephone some $500,000 so far, according to Proper. She is interested in applying for federal and state broadband grants to help pay for the project, but Richmond hasn’t been eligible for those funds before.







internet hookups mounted to the wall

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



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

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 hookup on the outside of the house

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



“I’m just really happy to know that there’s local service that I could call and get someone who lives in Richmond who cared about how my system worked or cared about my local service, and that the money’s going to local people,” he said. .

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

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

“They’re always available to talk with you and always available to come out and look over 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 had been using Direct TV out here with satellite service. Now that I have fiber optics I’m using it less.”

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