STATEWIDE – The ConnectME Authority has given broadband grants to seven communities across the state for new fiber infrastructures.
We’ve known for a really long time the importance of broadband but I think this current COVID crisis is really brought it to the forefront. It’s kind of ripped the blanket off for the need for connectivity,” said Director Peggy Schaeffer.
Most people take internet access for granted, whether it’s apps on their phones, binge watching Netflix or sending a simple email. For many towns in rural Maine, it is difficult to connect to the rest of the world without the proper infrastructure.
“So down speed is how the world talks to us. Up speed is how we talk to the world. So it’s really important for telehealth, it’s really important for education. it’s important for small businesses,” Shaeffer said.
ConnectME has just granted money to several communities to begin their plans for better internet connection starting with fiber optics lines.
Schaeffer said that this year, they had 15 applicants but through a scoring criteria only seven could be awarded funding, including the town of Hudson.
“This grant for the town is gonna upgrade internet service for a majority of the town,” said Donald Grant, chairman of the Hudson Board of Selectmen. “Right now, we’re under served and this is going to help emancipate because pretty much what they’re doing is running fiber optics. That’s pretty much the next stage up. It’s not DSL.”
Grant said almost all of the town’s access is through satellite dishes.
The community wrote well over 250 letters for the application process and now the next step is to address their share of the funding to ensure the plan goes forward.
“It’s a good start and if we can get the town to raise the $50,000, we’ll be good to go,” Grant said.
The town of Hudson is hoping to get the plan rolling by fall.