Improving Digital Literacy – National Digital Equity Center

BACKGROUND Digital Literacy Digital literacy is having the knowledge and competence to use a digital connection to the internet. Improving digital literacy drives support for better connected communities. If residents have familiarity with accessing the internet, it supports the growth of business, workforce development, healthcare access, civic engagement, student education, and all-around quality of life… Read more »

Address Affordability – Islesboro’s Municipal Broadband Service

BACKGROUND High speed internet connectivity comes to your community and to your home at a cost. Monthly (or annual) payments can be expensive for customers, and in many cases, there could also be an increase in taxes for those same customers if their town financed the capital cost of the infrastructure construction. These costs can… Read more »

Consider WiFi hotspots

Providing public access to the internet for your community’s residents and visitors is a great way to boost the quality of the experience they have, and the economic activity that occurs, in key areas of the community. Setting up WiFi hotspots in downtown or other public areas is a fast and cost-effective way to bring… Read more »

Choose a Financial Model – CI Fiber

BACKGROUND Cliff Island, the last stop on Portland’s Casco Bay Ferry, has historically suffered from slow internet speeds. As the 21st century has progressed, Americans have come to expect high-speed, reliable internet to be as accessible as running water or electricity. Because of this trend, Cliff Islanders began to question whether they could feasibly bring… Read more »

Public Funding Sources – Roque Bluffs & USDA Reconnect

BACKGROUND Providing high-speed and reliable internet to a rural area offers a number of logistical challenges. One of the most pressing issues is finding the money to fund the projects, because most internet service providers (ISPs) do not serve rural areas due the lack of economic incentives. In densely populated areas there is a high… Read more »

State infrastructure & planning grants

To help fund broadband projects, the ConnectME Authority awards grant funding to Maine communities. ConnectME offers planning grants for designing projects and infrastructure grants for construction. The Diamond Cove Association on Great Diamond Island partnered with an internet service provider to obtain an infrastructure grant. Visit the ConnectME website for more information.   IMPLEMENTATION STEPS… Read more »

Perform a feasibility study

A feasibility study provides information on existing infrastructure and needs. Broadband is an effective way to address some of the challenges associated with island life. High-speed internet can provide economic, educational, medical, and other benefits without the need for physical connectedness. In order to best determine baseline connectivity and community goals around broadband, it is… Read more »

Work with an incumbent provider

Rural communities in Maine often have very small populations and sometimes have a hard time getting attention from incumbent service providers. The communities of Frenchboro, Matinicus, Isle Au Haut, and Swan’s Island came together as a group with the Island Institute to coordinate shared goals and meet with their incumbent service provider, TDS Telecom. With… Read more »

Request for information

An RFI or RFP process can provide more options for improving connectivity. Once you have a handle on (most of) your community’s broadband goals and existing infrastructure, using a Request-For-Information (RFI) process is a great way to solicit creative solutions to leveraging that existing infrastructure and improving internet connectivity. If you’ve determined the details of… Read more »