Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has appointed new leadership to take over the expansion of ‘last mile’ broadband service in the Western part of the state. The broadband expansion project has been stuck for several months after the leader of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute stepped down to run for a legislative position. Since then, the Baker administration has also pulled funding for WiredWest which was tasked with setting up the network and has been fighting with broadband advocates about how the expansion could proceed.
Now, Peter J. Larkin has been appointed to the role of special advisor to Baker’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, where he will oversee the project. Larkin will also chair the board of directors at the Massachusetts Broadband Institute which has a $50 million budget of state funds to support broadband expansion.
Larkin was most recently a principal at Public Policy Advisors, a government relations consulting firm in Boston.
Bill Ennen who is a program director at the John Adams Innovation Institute in Massachusetts will also work with Larkin and serve as the state’s liaison in Western Massachusetts.
It is unclear if WiredWest will be restarted with or without state funds.