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County partners launch broadband survey

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — A countywide effort is underway by the Aroostook Partnership, Aroostook County and a broadband company to gather data on broadband use and availability throughout Aroostook County.  

To achieve this, there will be an online survey available as part of a broader effort to pinpoint gaps in broadband coverage to determine the best course of action to address the digital divide in Northern Maine. 

In May, Mission Broadband Inc. was hired to facilitate this project on behalf of The County and the Aroostook Partnership.   

“Aroostook County is committed to enhanced broadband in every corner of The County. By working collaboratively our goal is to engage all stakeholders including government, nonprofit and business sectors to enhance the opportunities for our residents and communities,” Aroostook County Administrator Ryan Pelletier said.

“One of the most important steps to become grant-ready is understanding where our internet coverage gaps are in Aroostook.  That will require this survey completed from as many addresses as possible,” Aroostook Partnership CEO Paul Towle said. 

One of the key components of the Aroostook County broadband infrastructure gap analysis is broadband mapping for the entire County.  

“We have requested service coverage data from all of the Internet Service Providers who currently serve Aroostook County,”Michael Elliott of Mission Broadband said.  

“We must speed up the deployment of broadband in order to bring high-speed data services to homes and businesses in Aroostook County,” Sherman selectman Jeff Packard said. “The spread of information technology contributes to a steady growth in jobs, economic development, and is vital for the future of our existing residents and businesses.”

“If we didn’t recognize the critical need for more broadband connectivity across The County and statewide before, the last three years certainly amplified it,” said Jason Parent, CEO of the Aroostook County Action Program, who is also a member of the State of Maine Digital Equity Taskforce.  

“It is an economic, social, and health and well-being imperative that people are provided effective and affordable broadband,” Parent said. “This survey is our opportunity to get the exact information needed to give us the best chance at funding the expansion of high-speed internet to the unserved and underserved residents of Aroostook County.”  

While many surveys have been done in the past, more up-to-date data is needed to provide an accurate picture of the ever changing landscape of broadband in Aroostook County.

The survey is located at https://www.missionbroadband.com/aroostook and closes on Sept. 30.  

For more information, or if you are unable to respond online and would like to participate, contact Pelletier at ryan@aroostook.me.us or Towle at ptowle@aroostookpartnership.org 

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