June 2, 2017

Lake Region Broadband Partnership awarded ConnectME grant

Since May of 2015, four communities in the Sebago Lakes Region: Gray, Raymond, Standish, and Windham that make up the Lakes Region Broadband Partnership, have been meeting with stakeholders representing businesses, public schools, municipal economic development agencies and committees, Saint Joseph’s College, and residents to better understand the needs and current capacity of the region for broadband services. These four communities, with their partners, are taking steps to achieve their vision of symmetrical gigabit broadband service to every premise in the region, along with a digitally aware populace which can take full advantage of a true high speed broadband network.

The Lakes Region Partnership has embraced goals for an enhanced and more robust broadband infrastructure that includes:

·        Meeting the growth needs of:
o   Businesses, both small and large, and entrepreneurs
o   Home-based businesses, and telecommuters
·        Encouraging technology based companies to expand and/or locate in the region
·        Supporting the growth of Saint Joseph’s College both on campus and online
·        Growing the tourism economy by providing opportunities for extended stay vacations
·        Supporting aging in place strategies with telemedicine and home monitoring
·        Increasing the digital capacities of the municipalities to provide online services, Smart City, micro grid, and traffic control infrastructure
·        Increasing digital access for residents to schools, libraries, and town halls
·        Supporting the development of key sites and corridors for both increased residential densities and business attraction and retention
·        Creating downtown Wi-Fi hotspots
·        Increasing the reliability and redundancy of the digital infrastructure

The Lakes Region Broadband Partnership, working with AXIOM Technologies, applied for and on May 25, 2017, was awarded a $15,000 Community Broadband Planning Grant from Maine’s ConnectME Authority.
The focus of the Community Broadband Planning Grant is the design of 40 miles of fiber backbone with service provider access points, the review of and enhancement of digital inclusion services throughout the region, and the development of a long-term management plan.  The results of this work will provide the information necessary for the partnership, and more importantly, allow the region’s residents and businesses to move forward with implementing the next steps and realizing their economic and social goals.

WEDC Executive Director said, “The Windham Economic Development Corporation has been pleased to work with such a dedicated group of people from throughout the Lakes Region to get us to this point in our process. The WEDC looks forward to continuing to work with our Lakes Region Broadband Partnership communities of Gray, Raymond, Standish and Windham, the leadership team at Saint Joseph’s College, and with the professionals at AXIOM Technologies to complete the goals of the ConnectME Grant and to take our region to the next step in securing our digital future.”

AXIOM President Mark Ouellette said, “We are excited to partner with the Windham Economic Development Corporation and the four Town Managers who understand how important fiber optic connectivity is to help give their citizens the tools needed to not only succeed in an increasingly digital economy, but to also help the region move forward economically.”
AXIOM is an Internet Provider and Professional Services company based in Machias, Maine.  They were awarded four ConnectME Authority Planning Grants totaling $108,000, including the Lakes Region.

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