Learn more about challenges facing community driven broadband projects in the news and from community members themselves. Scroll to the bottom for a Rapid Response Toolkit communities can use to effectively tackle these challenges.
Hear from communities who are raising their voices against the current efforts to undermine community driven broadband projects. These pieces can provide useful talking points to other communities facing similar issues.
See below for examples of broadband committees addressing opposition within their community.
08.01.22 A Mainer Speaks Out About Campaign Astroturfing and Social Media Manipulation
by Sarah Sherman, Southport
Sarah Sherman, resident of Southport, talks about the Alliance for Quality (AQB) presence in her town in advance of their broadband project vote. She shares her experience interacting with the group on Facebook, and urges Mainers to raise questions publicly about efforts to derail Maine’s rural broadband projects.
07.20.22 Are We Preaching to the Choir? Thoughts on Community Ownership and Frank Conversations
by Joe Meadows, Southwestern Waldo County Broadband
Joe Meadows, member of the Southwestern Waldo County Broadband Coalition, responds to the misinformation and propaganda being spread recently about publicly owned networks, and offers some advice to communities.
07.25.22 Learning From Southport's Community Driven Broadband Experience
by Joe Oliva, MBC
Joe Oliva shares lessons learned from a meeting where MBC convened community members around the state to hear from Southport’s broadband committee after the town vote that upended their five year community-driven process.
As broadband funding from the federal government reaches Maine, more and more communities are forming committees to try and access some of that funding. But with that, a we've seen a troubling trend of campaigns against municipally owned broadband emerge.
See below for articles on the broadband landscape in Maine, and the challenges that face communities looking to upgrade their networks.
08.08.22 Maine's broadband revolution requires cooperation
by Andrew Butcher, Maine Connectivity Authority
Andrew Butcher, President of the Maine Connectivity Authority, reflects on the future of broadband in Maine, emphasizing that all options must be on the table in order to achieve state-wide connectivity.
07.07.22 Charter-funded group campaigns against Maine municipal broadband, riling residents and ‘partners’
by Steve Mistler, Maine Public Radio
A group funded by Maine's largest internet service provider has successfully helped defeat municipal broadband projects in the tiny communities of Readfield and Southport.
06.28.22 Big-campaign tactics come to local Maine elections on broadband expansion
by Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News
A spin-off Facebook page led by the alliance called “Protect Readfield” spent nearly $14,000 on ads from March 27 to June 24, according to site disclosures. Voters there ultimately defeated a town-owned broadband network on June 14.
Community Rapid Response Toolkit
See below for resources and tools to help move your community broadband project forward.
Marketing 101 for Community Broadband Committees
by Tracy Scheckel
Engaging the public is critical to the success of any broadband focused committee; a well-planned PR campaign is an important element of community outreach. Click the link below for resources from Tracy Scheckel, Marketing Manager at the Ellsworth American, on PR Dos and Don'ts for any community looking to further their outreach.
Community Networks Successes and Failures
A project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, muninetworks.org published a resource that helps debunk the sweeping claims made by AQB. In addition to highlighting many successful examples of public broadband networks, the article shares reasons and lessons learned from a few “failures” that are regularly cited by campaigns opposing community driven solutions.
Are you starting to notice divisive broadband messaging in your community? Please fill out the form below and we will follow up with tools and resources to protect your project against these kinds of attacks.