Broadband in Franklin County
History & Timeline
2017 – A grassroots collection of citizen leaders from around the county recognized the greatest threat to Franklin county’s future success was the current state of inadequate broadband infrastructure. At the time, there was no plan to upgrade it to future, or even current FCC standards. This group of citizen leaders created the Franklin County Broadband Initiative (FCBI).
The FCBI applied for a ConnectMaine grant to assess our county-wide internet assets and provide high-level costs to upgrade the entire county to a functioning standard.
2018 – We were successful with the ConnectMaine grant. Grass-roots community engagement lead to each of our 22 towns, including the county (townships), contributing to the cost of a Study that assessed our entire county plus Livermore Falls.
We engaged our consultant and produced our county-wide study which encompassed all of our 21 towns, 14 townships plus the Androscoggin County town of Livermore Falls. This 510 page study measured who was connected, with which technology (DSL, cable, fiber), who was not connected and the high-level costs to get all 30,000 residents connected to reliable high-speed broadband.
2018-2020 – Ongoing community engagement, establishing municipal broadband committees, engaging with internet service providers, and lots of grant writing.
2021 – Our Weld/Wilton/Perkins/Washington Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) project is awarded a $1M federal grant. More fundraising is needed.
Our 4-town Rangeley (including the town of Rangeley and Rangeley, Dallas, and Sandy River Plantations) Fiber-to-the-Home project is included in our National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) grant application, which is in collaboration with Consolidated Communications and ConnectMaine.
Our 5-town Farmington Exchange (Farmington, Temple, Industry, New Sharon, Chesterville) Fiber-to-the-Home project is included in our federal NTIA grant application, which is in collaboration with Consolidated Communications and ConnectMaine.
2022 – Our Weld/Wilton/Perkins/Washington Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) project is awarded an additional federal grant in the amount of $514,000.
We have three FTTH projects that are funded and beginning this year to be completed by the end of 2023. These will connect 13 towns/12,000 addresses (more than half of the county) and result in $34M of taxable infrastructure investment within Franklin county.
We update our 2018 Study to reflect the current broadband assets throughout the county. We are receiving proposals from providers for connecting our remaining towns.
At the moment, we are working on two fiber-to the-home projects. These projects will begin implementation in 2022:
Wilton & Weld
The proposed provider for the Wilton and Weld area buildout is Matrix. It will include four towns – 1,200 addresses – to be built out with fiber-to-the-home internet by the end of 2023. It is a $6.5M project that will be partially funded by the county, the towns, and other funding raised by Greater Franklin. The Congressional Directed Spending of $514K could lower town costs substantially. Greater Franklin has raised $1.514M of federal funds for this project.
Consolidated Communications (CCI) in Farmington Exchange and Rangeley
The provider for this project is Consolidated Communications (CCI). Nine towns in the Farmington area and Rangeley area – 11,000 addresses – will be built out with fiber-to-the-home internet by the end of 2023. This project will serve approximately half of the addresses in the entire county. It is a $27.5M project that will be paid for by $9.5M in National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) funds and $18M in investment by CCI. Greater Franklin worked with the state and CCI to see that Franklin County played a significant role in the process of acquiring NTIA funding.