Regional Broadband project

Update for Town Councils & Residents

October 1, 2021

The Greater East Grand Region is a citizen-designated economic development area that represents 12 communities across three counties. The communities are: Amity, Orient, Haynesville, Glenwood Plantation, Reed Plantation/Wytopitlock, Drew Plantation, Weston, Danforth, Brookton, Forest, Forest City, Codyville Plantation and several TWPs. 

The Greater East Grand Economic Council was established in 2021 to advance the economic development goals and priorities of the region in collaboration with community leaders and residents. A regional economic plan was completed in 2020 and the #1 priority was improving access to high-speed broadband services across the region. Workforce development; support for youth/young adults to secure meaningful careers in the region; and sustaining existing businesses are also important priorities.

High-speed broadband is required infrastructure to help advance all the business and workforce development priorities.

Phase 1 broadband planning began in 2020 after receiving funds from ConnectMaine Authority, Maine Community Foundation and the Washington County TIF. Phase 1 planning was completed early in 2021. It included community surveys and meetings, vendor meetings, residential and business speed testing, and preliminary regional infrastructure mapping for each town.

Phase 2 feasibility planning is now underway. This phase includes a Request for Proposal (RFP) process inviting all internet providers to submit proposals on how to expand broadband services across the region. The RFP will be released around October 8th and proposals are expected by the end of October. ConnectMaine Authority and the Maine Community Foundation provided funds for this phase. Additional funds were requested from each of the municipalities and plantations in the region, Aroostook County UT and Washington County UT/TIF. To date, three communities have each made contributions to the Phase 2 planning fund through their respective warrant processes to support continued planning. These funds will be used to retain a consulting firm, Mission Broadband, based in Bangor, to facilitate the RFP process and to support ongoing project coordination across the region through the Greater East Grand Economic Council. https://www.missionbroadband.com

Dwayne Young, Broadband Task Force Chair, and Sarah Strickland, GEGEC Interim Director, will be scheduling community meetings with respective town councils and residents to prepare for local and regional discussions on the proposed infrastructure design, and the best approach to finance and operate a regional broadband network. The GEGR Broadband Task Force will include representatives from each community for these important discussions.

Please direct comments or questions to:

Dwayne Young at townofweston@pioneerwireless.net

Sarah Strickland at info@eastgrandregion.org

Wayne Smith at denise.wayne.smith@gmail.com