Information Regarding March 12, 2021 Referendum Article for ConnectME Grant Match

*UPDATE* March 24, 2021: A message for Colleen Quint, Committee Chair:

Now that the broadband vote has taken place - and passed by a whopping 120-3 margin (!) - here are a few key things to know about next steps.  The Town is now working with FirstLight and with a consultant to prepare the application to secure the necessary remaining funds from the ConnectME Authority.  As we explained, the Town covers 1/3 of the cost, the provider (FirstLight) covers 1/3 of the cost and ConnectME Authority covers 1/3 of the cost.  Applications are due to the ConnectME Authority in late April and we hope to know within a month or so after that if we receive funding.  Based on the application scoring, we think we are in pretty good shape...but we know it will be a competitive process.
We also know that while the project we voted on will cover about half the houses in town not currently able to access broadband, that even if we get this grant there is lots more work to be done to get the rest of the town covered. We started where we did because we had a provider (FirstLight) willing to expand their current fiber to reach new homes - and they will also be upgrading homes they currently serve.  The Committee continues to talk with Charter (TimeWarner/Spectrum) and other providers to ask them to map the town and let us know the cost of expanding and upgrading parts not yet served. 
Finally, you may have read that there are new federal funds under the "American Rescue Plan" (the big federal stimulus bill approved by Congress earlier this month).  In addition to stimulus checks for individuals and families, etc, the state of Maine is also slated to receive substantial funds (expected to be about $1 billion) to support schools, vaccination efforts, PPP for businesses...and broadband expansion. While we don't know specifics yet, we do anticipate that there will be a lot more dollars on the table to move broadband projects forward.
Thanks for your support, and we'll post updates here when we have them!


Important Dates:

  • February 8, 2021: Selectmen Public Hearing 
  • March 12, 2021 (4pm-8pm): Municipal Referendum
    • Absentee Ballots Available February 10th and need to be received March 12th by 8pm. 




Existing and Proposed FirstLight Service Area
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