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Westfield Thrives by Making Solid Connections

This article was originally published in print and online by BusinessWest

By the middle of 2018, Dan Howard says, close to 75% of Westfield residents and businesses will have access to high-speed Internet through Whip City Fiber, a division of Westfield Gas + Electric.

“The Municipal Light Board is fully behind it, as is the City Council,” said Howard, general manager of WG+E, adding that the city began funding the project back in 2014. “It’s a great collaboration that has really benefited the entire city.”

He noted that of the 41 municipal electric utilities in Massachusetts, only four are gas-and-electric entities, and only one of those four, once Westfield’s project goes online, will also provide high-speed Internet. The city will join communities like Wilson, N.C., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Longmont, Colo., as ‘gigacities,’ and will be able to showcase that fact in its marketing efforts to draw more business to town.

“You don’t have to be big manufacturer or a warehouse facility; we’re also providing access to small, upstart entrepreneurs,” he said. “People can work out of their homes and get the Internet access they need. This provides hefty benefits to communities and has proven to be an economic boost.”

Although it’s perhaps the most literal example, Whip City Fiber is just one way Westfield is making connections — between its municipal leadership, business community, residents, and educational facilities.

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Westfield’s large industrial zone, excellent highway/rail/air access, fast track permitting, economic incentive program, proximity to the region’s knowledge corridor of higher learning educational facilities, and highly skilled labor force contribute towards the success of any business.

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