County Group Gets Grant to Study Broadband Access

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Unlike other utilities—like water and electricity—broadband access is not a public service, which means private providers are responsible for its deployment. But governments at all levels are trying to facilitate its deployment. Maine, for example, recently awarded a $43,000 grant to a group in Franklin County, reports centralmaine.com. The Franklin County Broadband Initiative, a collection of several organizations across the state, will receive funding to research broadband connectivity. Several municipalities will match the grant.

Charles Woodworth, a community representative for the initiative, said several meetings hosted by the group showed broadband access needs to improve. He also discussed the wide support for the study generated by the group from members in the county’s 22 towns.

“We had great turnout and very broad representation from educators, businesses, students and parents saying, ‘We don’t have internet, our children’s homework assignments are online and I’ve got to drive in town and park outside the library to collect the WiFi while my son or daughter does their homework in the cab of the truck,’” Woodworth said. “We got to hear what current conditions are like, and it became very apparent what needs to happen.”

ConnectME, an organization started by the state of Maine in 2006, to facilitate the deployment of broadband accessibility, is awarding the grant; it’s released some $11.3 million in grants since its inception, for projects that have totaled $21.4 million.

June 7, 2017

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