¼ of Aroostook County Homes Lack Quality Broadband
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
Nearly a quarter of homes in Aroostook County are lacking a quality broadband connection, hindering growth in the region according to a new report by the County Broadband Committee. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.
In a comprehensive report released by the Aroostook Partnership regarding broadband access in Aroostook county, of the 36,241 homes in Aroostook County, 8,655 homes are considered unserved in terms of high speed internet access, representing about 24% of all households in the county. The report, which was developed by Mission Broadband, included surveys and broadband speed testing in order to provide a blueprint for improving broadband access in the county.
“There’s a lot of great data in there that’s broken down by individual roads in each community. It really talks about areas of the county that are underserved or not served at all with high speed internet and the goal here is to try to get as much broadband in as many places throughout Aroostook County so we can remain competitive.”
County Administrator, Ryan Pelletier explains that one of the objectives of the Aroostook County Broadband Guide was to provide municipalities with detailed information regarding their community’s broadband capabilities in order to apply for millions of federal funds available through the Maine Connectivity Authority.
“What we really want are local, municipal towns and cities to be doing with this report is using the data to apply for some federal funds through the state of Maine to expand broadband in their communities. This is the information, the data that they’re going to need to put together some real comprehensive plans.” says Pelletier.
“One of the great things about the report is it has both data tables showing every road in Aroostook County, where we have coverage, where we don’t have coverage and where we have coverage but it’s not really up to par”
Paul Towle, President of the Aroostook Partnership says affordable broadband access is necessary to keep Aroostook County relevant in an online age of remote work and worldwide connectivity.
“Without broadband communities are going to struggle, there’s no question about it. As people are deciding where they want to do their work, you don’t always have to work in your local community, you can take your job with you and live wherever you want in the country. If you don’t have broadband, those folks aren’t coming here” says Towle.
Both Pelletier and Towle say that getting municipalities interested in expanding broadband has been difficult, but their hoping that those who are in underserved communities will use the report as a springboard to get communities interested.
“Get involved. Advocate to your local selectmen, you town councilor, your town manager if you have one, encourage them to work with us to apply for these funds that will be available and expand broadband in their communities.” says Pelletier.
To view the Aroostook County Broadband Community Guide, please visit:
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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