Lakes Area Collaboration
At the request of the multiple town managers and broadband planning committees to maximize efficiency, cost savings, and long-term benefit – the towns of Bridgton, Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Harrison, Naples, Raymond, Sebago, Standish, and Windham will evaluate a coordinated process to achieve common broadband goals and objectives. While various efforts to evaluate connectivity, solutions have begun and exist at different stages, a comprehensive and coordinated approach remains undefined given the supercharge of broadband demand and lingering need identified throughout the region.
GPCOG, Cumberland County, and the Maine West Partners (Community Concepts Finance Corporation and The Northern Forest Center) seek to assist town planning processes by facilitating dedicated technical assistance to help articulate a multi-town strategy for the development of a broadband connectivity plan addressing short term connectivity needs and long-term infrastructure opportunities. Currently each town is embarking on their own individual planning effort including data collection, community engagement, goal setting and even consultant engagement with minimal overlap and coordination beyond neighboring towns in immediate proximity. The proposed scope of work seeks to accelerate a multi-community approach to help articulate what could be possible with coordination and collaboration.
The towns have decided to work with GEO Partner's LLC. and Missions Broadband to evaluate the feasibility of a regional approach to expanding broadband access. The towns will receive six possible network models: one showcasing 100% fixed wireless, one with 100% fiber to the home, and four hybrid models (combinations of fixed wireless and fiber). For communities and regions, the GEO tool they are using can proved crucial for quickly understanding what they currently possess for infrastructure, what funding sources are within reach, and how much funding is needed to achieve their specific goals.