Maine's annual broadband summit is focused on inspiring and empowering community leaders to address the challenges of bringing reliable, high-speed internet to Maine. Hosted by the Maine Broadband Coalition, in partnership with the Island Institute, GrowSmart Maine, Fourth Economy Consulting, and the ConnectME Authority, the 2019 Maine Broadband Summit brought together more than 150 community leaders, representatives, and technical experts to share experiences and resources for how communities can move forward with locally-driven broadband projects to address their needs and how we can all work together to help improve connectivity across our state.
Day 1 of the two-day conference brought together local leaders from communities across Maine to share experiences and updates on their community-driven broadband projects.
On Day 2, local leaders were joined by state and regional leaders, technical experts, and affiliated partners to help connect communities with resources and tools for reaching broadband goals.
See a copy of the 2019 Maine Broadband Summit agenda here:
2019 Maine Broadband Summit Final Agenda
In the News
- Broadband summit kicks off at Thomas College in Waterville—Portland Press Herald, 10/28/19
- Speaker at Maine Broadband Summit says high-speed internet access essential—Morning Sentinel, 10/29/19
- 2019 Maine Broadband Summit—OTELCO blog, 10/31/19
Photos and Video
Video of sessions from Day 2 of the Summit can be found on our YouTube page. Click below to access them directly, or click here to see the full playlist.
- Welcome / Inspiring Broadband—Updates from Minnesota
- Panel Discussion: Community Broadband—Success Stories from across Maine
- Lightning Rounds: Pursuing Broadband through Working Together
- Keynote: Moving Maine Forward with Broadband
- Panel Discussion: Motivating Broadband Projects—Connected Infrastructure and Economic Development
- Panel Discussion: Making Use of Broadband—Aging in Place and Telehealth
- Building Community Networks
- Panel Discussion: Seeking Broadband Funding
Click here to see a photo gallery with pictures from the Summit:
2019 Maine Broadband Summit Photo Gallery
Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
Commissioner Heather Johnson has a diverse background in the private technology sector including sales, operations, and general management roles at Nokia, Gateway, and Toshiba. After leaving the private sector, Heather accepted a position as the Executive Director of Somerset Economic Development Corporation and had the opportunity to concentrate on rural economic development. Prior to her role as Commissioner, Heather served as Director of the ConnectME Authority, focusing on expanding access to and increasing adoption of broadband connectivity in Maine. As Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Heather continues to dedicate her career to fostering economic development, both in private companies and in rural communities across Maine.
"The global economy isn't built on few choices. We need to create educational opportunities that help create a workforce that's vibrant and ready for the future while allowing people to be where they want to be."
– Commissioner Heather Johnson, Maine DECD
Community Technology Advisors
St. Paul, Minnesota
Bill Coleman helps communities make the connection between telecommunications and economic development. As owner of Community Technology Advisors since 2000, he assists community, foundation and corporate clients to develop and implement programs of broadband policy, infrastructure and market development. Earlier in his career, Bill managed Onvoy’s (now Zayo) Integrated Community Network rural market development efforts and staffed the MN Department of Trade and Economic Development Star City and Business Retention and Expansion Programs. Bill participates in his own community by leading TEDxMahtomedi, and serving on the board of the nonprofit PCs for People.
Bill helped kick off Day 2 of the Summit, highlighting the commonalities between Maine and Minnesota and broadband as a critical right for every individual in rural communities.
Internet Society & The Indigenous Connectivity Summit
Anna Higgins is a Research Analyst for the North America Regional Bureau of the Internet Society. In her role, she researches, supports, and advocates for the Internet Society’s policy positions on privacy, security, and access issues—particularly for Tribal and Indigenous communities. She also works on external engagement and partnership initiatives for the organization. She previously worked at Next Century Cities, where she researched and created resources on broadband access issues for cities, towns, and counties. She also worked at ICANNWiki and developed content on ICANN and its domain-naming processes. She has been involved with the Internet Governance Forum USA for the past two years and planned a Day Zero event for youth in July 2019.
Anna spoke to 2019 Summit attendees about the importance of building community networks.
"Every community is different, but there are a lot of similarities. You need to meet people where they're at and find out what they need." – Anna Higgins, Internet Society
Monday, October 28th – 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sessions include hands-on workshops for communities already working on a broadband project
Workshops will serve community leaders wherever you are in the community-driven broadband process, whether you're just getting started or have started building infrastructure. Attendees will participate in facilitated group discussions, hear other communities' success stories and lessons learned, and walk away with a concrete understanding of their next steps. Lunch is included, and the day concludes with a networking hour.
Community Broadband Process Workshops:
- Getting Started and Making Progress: Forming full and functioning working groups and building community-wide buy-in
- Community Priorities and Planning: Identifying and communicating your broadband goals and accessing resources for the planning process
- Funding Broadband Projects: Exploring financial and ownership options and deciding what is right for your community
- Planning Your Next Steps: Deciding what you need to get out of Day 2 of the Summit
Tuesday, October 29th – 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Sessions will be a mix of presentations, lightning rounds, and panel discussions. Speakers invited include community and agency leaders from Maine and beyond, internet service providers, and other broadband supporters. Broadband is about more than ensuring your community has 21st century technology. Attendees will engage on topics covering community resilience, economic and social benefits, and best practices for public-private partnerships. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Community and Broadband Sessions:
- Inspiring Broadband: Updates from Minnesota; Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors, St. Paul, Minnesota
- Community Broadband: Success Stories from across Maine; panel discussion with community leaders and ISPs, including OTELCO, LCI, Axiom, and GWI
- Pursuing Broadband Through Working Together; lightning round presentations by community leaders, internet service providers and third-party partners
- KEYNOTE: Moving Maine Forward with Broadband; Heather Johnson, Commissioner of Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
- Motivating Broadband Projects: Connected Infrastructure and Economic Development
- Making Use of Broadband: Aging in Place and Telehealth
- Building Community Networks; Anna Higgins, Internet Society & The Indigenous Connectivity Summit
- Seeking Broadband Funding; panel discussion featuring ConnectME Authority, USDA, FAME, and the Island Institute
A big thank-you to the following sponsors for helping to make this event possible!