Franklin Countys First News

Local partnership seeks expand, improve Internet in Franklin County

FARMINGTON - A collaboration of local partners seeking to improve broadband Internet service throughout Franklin County has scheduled three meetings this month to gauge support and listen to concerns.

Broadband Internet is high-speed, reliable access, as measured through download and upload speeds. As defined by the Federal Communications Commission, broadband equates to at least 25 megabits per second download speed and 4 mbps for uploads. Access to broadband allows for the rapid transfer of voice services, video and other forms of data; currently, most of Maine doesn't have broadband Internet access that meets the new FCC definition.

"We want to identify coverage," Charles Woodworth, representing the Opportunity Center of North Franklin County, said. "Where are the holes? What is it going to take to fill them?"

The Opportunity Center of North Franklin County, the Greater Franklin Development Council, the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments and the Rangeley Economic Opportunity Committee have formed the basis for a grassroots effort that is working together to expand broadband access, beginning with a series of meetings. The meetings are a chance for local residents and business owners to meet with consultants and guest speakers from some broadband providers.

Meetings have been scheduled for March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School, March 16 at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Community Center and March 29 at 6 p.m. at the Phillips Community Center.

The meetings are being held in advance of an application for a planning grant through ConnectME Broadband Authority, a state board funded by federal money that seeks to improve the availability of broadband in Maine. That grant would fund a plan that would go toward determining how higher speed Internet could be brought to the entire county.

"We need to show support," Woodworth said. "If we are passive, nothing is going to happen."

At minimum, organizers are hoping to get residents and business owners to fill out an online survey, located here. That survey is important, Woodworth said, as it will help the planners identify holes in Franklin County's Internet coverage.

Local organizers believe that greater access to broadband could positively impact economic development, healthcare and education in Franklin County, as well as acting as a draw for younger would-be residents.

Woodworth said that, in addition to supporting the grant application, organizers hope to promote greater public engagement in an effort to bring broadband to everywhere in Franklin County.

More information is available through the Opportunity Center at ocfranklincounty@gmail.com; the Greater Franklin Development Council at 778-5887 or ahagerstrom@greaterfranklin.com; the Rangeley Economic Opportunity Committee at 864-3326 or reoc@rangeleyme.org; and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce at 778-4215 or director@franklincountymaine.org

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13 Responses »

  1. Please turn out for the meeting nearest you. And fill out the survey mentioned in this article.

  2. We have turbo speed DSL yet often can' open Google. And if if I'm uploading a 1 1/2 minute video to YouTube it often an hour or more. To stream Nefflx etc n Roju s a nightmare as all electronics in the house have to be placed on airplane model. Because they're only company I went from I'm a dial-up to this m mess. Crazy!

  3. Is there somewhere to get a comprehensive list of actual, existing service providers in the Farmington area?

    Google searches for such always turn up lots of hits for providers that end up saying Farminton is not actually in their coverage area.

  4. Fairpoint works well.

  5. TEMPLE needs better internet! As a student and someone who also depends on internet for my job, the lack of reliable Internet is a real problem. I've made many trips to Farmington just to go online to complete work for both school and work because our Internet is too slow or I can't stay connected.

  6. Fairmount does not work well. They ripped off maine.

  7. FairPoint works great for me. No complaints.

  8. 6.72 download speed .76 upload AND I thought we were doing ok. Yes. I want the FCC Mandated speeds.

  9. Providers should have to charge a flat rate per GB. Then you'd see a lot fewer faces buried in a screen for no useful purpose. After the first bill parents might decide it would be good for their kids to experience real life.

  10. Last evening my Bee Line Internet crawled on its belly. Anyone use TDS?

  11. I'm getting 16 Mb down and 2 Mb up - and paying three times what a colleague of mine pays for 240 Mb down and 56 Mb up.

    Granted I know we're more rural, and economies of scale (for infrastructure) apply... but paying three times more, for fifteen times less is crazy.

  12. Fairpoint not available due to lack of sub-station . I was intentionally bumped off Verizon(hot spot).Have researched numerous other options but location prevents them.I have a high school student who had internet w/ Verizon. Talked to AGs' office about being bumped without notice and breach of contract,but was told I'd have to bring case to FCC.(fat chance).Third world countries have way better service and I only live 8 miles from a university

  13. Hey there I live in a busy household with four computers, two consoles, Dish Network, multiple cell phones and a security system and with this much bandwith drained my connection drops anywhere from 10 to 12 times a day and often times I can't even use Google because it's so slow.

    My brother Ryan has the option to work from home but he can't utilize that due to the internet being so slow and we constantly have guests over that use it or at least attempt to use it.

    FairPoint provides us with 7mbps 0.80 bonded for $80 a
    month and I feel this outrageously expensive as well as slow for the amount of money that I'm paying for the internet.

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