|Access to reliable high-speed internet should be available for every one of our households and businesses as it enables increased opportunities for education, workforce development and healthcare – all of which lead to a vibrant community and a strong economy.
The internet is the vehicle for how the world communicates with us and how we communicate with the world. Many Mainers don’t have access to this technology that will allow them to participate in today’s economy. The Covid-19 pandemic is shining a harsh light on this fact.
Why don’t we have it? It’s simple, really. We do not have the population density that urban America has.
The solution is to build public/private partnerships. The public (towns, state and federal government) must share in the investment to make up the difference to attract the private partners.
An example of this is a project for six towns within Franklin County (Carthage, Weld, Wilton, Temple, Washington and Perkins). We have a proposal from a provider that includes design, engineering and installation of fiber-based Internet to 1,683 addresses. The provider asks that the towns pay for the utility pole make-ready costs and annual licensing fees. Each town has a citizen led broadband committee that is committed to prioritizing connecting to reliable internet. With this community support, we applied to the federal government for funding. Federal funding is more likely if there is also state funding.
A YES vote on Question 1 will endorse a $15 million state bond which will attract an additional $30 million in federal, municipal and private funds. With this $45 million investment we can begin to connect our students, our businesses and our seniors to the 21st century, enabling us to create a stronger economy in the future.
Greater Franklin Development Council,
Franklin County Broadband Initiative