BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick last week signed into law legislation that will make “targeted investments” in the state’s technology infrastructure in an attempt to increase access to broadband for underserved areas.
The bill, “An Act Financing Information Technology Equipment and Related Projects,” includes a $38 million pilot grant program for school connectivity and $50 million for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to develop “last-mile” solutions that bring broadband connectivity to more homes and businesses in western and central Massachusetts communities.
Under these reforms, the Mass. Office of Information Technology and the state’s chief information officer will assume a more strategic and supervisory role for technology projects, centralizing authority over IT system acquisition and development.
The bill also allows the state’s comptroller to transfer budgetary savings or revenue generated by technology projects to pay the debt service associated with those projects. According to a statement, that provision will ensure that Massachusetts is “capturing the return on [its] investments and saving taxpayer dollars.” •