Connectme 7 Town Broadband Planning Project
ConnectME awarded Lincoln County a two-phase Community Planning Grant in July 2018 to focus on the North/West region of Lincoln County, including the towns of Somerville, Jefferson, Whitefield, Dresden, Wiscasset, Westport Island, and Edgecomb.
We have been authorized to spend $6825 on Phase I, and up to $31,850 in Phase II, contingent ConnectME’s acceptance of the Phase I final report and demonstration of readiness for Phase II. We’ve just signed a contract with Axiom to provide the broadband planning and technical support, and hope to have our first “regional” meeting with all the towns represented in the next couple of weeks.
SCOPE OF WORK
Phase I: Identify Current Landscape and Needs
Major activities will be:
- Outreach (Broadband Committee, town officials, public education, etc.)
- Surveys (with County, prepare resident and business survey, determine best ways to distribute in each town, distribute, analyze results, etc.)
- Municipal procedures, policies and ordinances (rights-of-way; towers; franchise agreements)
- Inventory existing assets (infrastructure plus all internet service providers)
- Digital Inclusion plan (how to provide affordable broadband and computers: assess need for and availability of broadband and technology, develop digital literacy classes, and establish public computer access where needed, etc.)
Phase II: Network Designs - Gap Analysis
The funds have been put in escrow by ConnectME, contingent upon satisfactorily completing Phase I. More details will be developed as Phase I nears completion.
- Network Design: engineering designs to address gap analysis based on Phase I
- Financial modeling of solutions: engineering plan, cost analysis
- Preliminary and final report preparation and presentation
Objectives: Broadband access and adoption is a critical strategy for improving overall quality of life in rural communities by:
- Creating more opportunities for people to work where they live,
- Providing young people with expanded educational and employment opportunities,
- Improving access to adult education, healthcare and telehealth ,
- Supporting improved municipal and emergency services,
- Increasing the quality of tourism experiences and related business benefits, and
- Attracting young families to live and work in the area.
In December 2019, the Planning Project concluded after many meetings and work by the consulting firm Axiom Technologies. HERE's the final report.
Mary Ellen Barnes, 882-5983