Broadband Capacity Taskforce Convenes in Augusta
Broadband expansion and penetration as a driver for economic development is something we at GWI fell strongly about. It is a subject we have discussed on numerous occasions and will continue to promote as the need for broadband expansion in the state of Maine becomes more apparent to the greater population. However, we are not alone in this. The ConnectME Authority and companies such as Axiom Technologies and Maine Fiber Company are also leading the charge in advocating the importance of broadband in the current economy.
In the past year, the ConnectME Authority was awarded a federal grant through the NTIA to develop a taskforce whose goal is to “implement strategies to take advantage of broadband for its economic potential in Maine.” Compiled of members from the private, public, education, and government sectors, the taskforce’s charge is to facilitate economic development in two different ways:
- By supporting broadband growth and adoption to the private sector, skilled workers and entrepreneurs who can live anywhere but want to live in Maine because of its distinctive quality of place
- By increasing the quality and efficiency of health care service delivery
The federal grant is scheduled to run through December, 2014, with the final milestone being a statewide broadband conference.
The taskforce, managed by the State Planning Office and known as the Broadband Capacity Building Taskforce, has already begun to meet with industry leaders to cultivate information on the state of broadband in Maine. The first conference was held on Monday, 12/5, and included Fletcher Kittredge from GWI, Susan Corbett of Axiom Technologies, and Dwight Allison from Maine Fiber Company. The goal of the conference was to gain initial knowledge on what local companies are doing with the usage of broadband, how broadband can positively affect economies, and what people are doing across the state regarding its expansion.
Overall, the initial meeting was a success. It allowed for those deeply engrained in the telecommunications industry to share on what is succeeding and what is failing regarding expanding broadband and the regulations that enshroud it. This will be the first of many information gathering conferences for the taskforce, with future plans to meet with ILECs and cellular service providers. The hope is to gain an overall picture as to the state of broadband in Maine by compiling knowledge from all sectors of the telecommunications industry.
Below you can find the Power Point presentation that was given to the taskforce by Fletcher, Susan, and Dwight.