GREAT BARRINGTON -- The Selectboard and Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin are pleased to announce that the downtown area will soon have enhanced fiber-optic internet connectivity.

Fiber Connect has committed to invest in Great Barrington, making high speed internet more accessible throughout downtown Great Barrington. The impacted area will include Castle Street, Railroad Street and both sides of Main Street from Castle Street to Elm Street.

Fiber Connect will pay for the costs of maintaining the network and will work directly with building owners in the coming weeks to obtain easements to run the fiber-optic cable between buildings in those areas. The company will then be able to offer fiber-optic internet service with download speeds of at least one gigabyte per second to those in the connected area.

The installation of the fiber-optic cable will come at no cost to landlords or the town.

"High speed internet is a critical resource that our downtown businesses will need in order to remain competitive with those in surrounding communities," said Select Board Member Ed Abrahams, who spearheaded the effort to secure fiber-optic service for the town. "I'm grateful that Fiber Connect has chosen to invest in our downtown, providing our businesses and residents with additional options when choosing how they want to get online."

Fiber Connect's entrance into Great Barrington comes following years of work by town officials examining options -- including public-private partnerships, public broadband and the creation of incentives for fiber expansion -- as well as work done using a Mass IT Community Compact grant.

"We are excited that this service will soon be available here in our downtown as an additional option for residents and business owners," Town Manager Tabakin said. "We expect that having additional services for downtown businesses and residents will ultimately boost our local economy and improve the quality of life in town."

Fiber Connect rates will range from $99 per month for standard residential fiber-optic internet and $149 per month for business internet. Each requires a three year commitment. Residential and business customers would also have the option to purchase custom coverage with download speeds up to 10 gigs per second.

Spectrum also offers internet service at a variety of speeds and rates in Great Barrington.

(press release sent to WSBS from Great Barrington Town manager Jennifer Tabakin for online and on air use)