top of page


This guide walks you through the process of planning a broadband development project in your community. Below you will find helpful information, sample materials, and frameworks that outline a concrete roadmap for your project.

Creating a broadband working group, task force, or committee is a great way to bring in community members with diverse backgrounds, help spread out the work, and communicate to all segments of the community. In this way, working groups can help ensure that there’s community-wide support for resulting broadband projects. 

Important Representation

  • Municipal official or someone with political will to support broadband

  • Educator, librarian, or someone who cares about educational opportunities

  • Someone who interacts with a wide range of the community

  • Telecommuter or someone who depends on broadband

  • Someone from a business or industry that is important to the community


Important roles:

  • Island Institute Template Worksheet | Link

  • Respected communicator

  • Finance guru

  • Energizer who engages people of all ages

  • Technical, policy, or other expert

  • Visionary who keeps process moving forward and feeling upbeat


Key Decisions/Tips:

  • Create a mission statement | Example Mission Statement

  • Set a regular meeting schedule (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.)

  • Set a meeting agenda | Example Agenda

  • Name a Chair (to facilitate meetings) and a Secretary (to take meeting minutes) | Example Meeting Minutes

  • Track and record your progress - MBC Initiatives Tracking Map 

Conducting a Survey

A community survey provides background on why broadband is important and collects needed
information for those taking action toward improving internet service. While surveys can be a great way to generate buzz about broadband and contribute to community outreach, survey goals are best accomplished after the community has been educated on broadband.

Survey Topics

  • Any or all of the three A’s could be addressed, depending on the needs of the community where it is initiated.

    • Assess the lack of broadband

    • Identify the interest in a broadband solution

    • Evaluate willingness to pay

    • Identify broadband uses in a community 

    • Help engage the community by identifying priorities and assessing infrastructure options


Creating a Survey

  • Determine the purpose of the survey - What information do you need to collect?

  • Determine how results will be used and what response rate is required 

  • Decide on a platform for the survey (Google Forms, SurveyMonkey)

  • Make sure the survey is short - should take no more than 5 minutes to complete 

  • Include the Maine Broadband Coalition Speed Test | Example Language

  • Use the survey as a way to grow your committee - include a section that asks for people to leave their name and email if interested in being involved in the broadband effort

Distributing a Survey

  • Email the link to an online survey (take advantage of town emailing lists and other organizations with newsletters in town)

    • Organizations to partner with for more outreach opportunities: Libraries, Schools, Community Clubs, Homeowner Associations, etc.

  • Direct Mailing

    • Town of Newry: Learned that sending a paper survey in an envelope with the town logo or some indication of who is sending the survey instead of a plain envelope was helpful in getting more responses to the survey

  • Table at town events (i.e. farmer’s market), town centers, supermarkets, transfer stations, etc. and provide the link to the online survey along with some printed copies

  • Word of Mouth - ask broadband committee members to spread the word

    • Friends and neighbors sharing a link to the survey and speed test made a difference with more people opening links from someone they know

  • Taking into account Seasonal Population:

    • Time of year of survey distribution

    • Reaching seasonal residents in the winter

  • Example Outreach Materials (i.e. postcards, emails, flyers, etc.)

Sharing Survey Results

  • Review the survey results to look for patterns

  • Represent results in a chart format to make patterns easy to identify - pie chart, bar graph, etc.

  • Share results via town newsletter, social media, town meetings, select board meetings, municipal websites, local newspapers, etc. 

  • Example survey result summary

Resources/Points of Contact:

  • Funding: ConnectMaine StartUp Grant

Identifying and Communicating with Stakeholders

  • libraries, schools, homeowners associations, etc.

Hosting a Public Forum

Hosting a Regional Dialogue

Identifying Key Geographic Variables

Interviewing Internet Service Providers

  • Hav

Creating an RFI/RFP?

Conducting a Feasibility Study

Choosing an Ownership Model

Community Broadband Utility

Municipally Owned and Operated Network

Public-Private Partnership

Private Expansion

Open Access Networks - Open Access | community broadband networks

  • Open access networks lower the barrier to entry for ISPs into a market -> competition is increased

    • Smaller ISPs don’t necessarily have enough capital to build and maintain infrastructure, but they can compete on service delivery if the infrastructure is owned and maintained by a community. 

    • If another, often larger ISP builds and maintains a network, there is no incentive for them to give open access to competition.

    • Open access benefits the resident through lower prices and higher quality service (via a competitive marketplace) and the town/region through economic development

Creating an RFP

  • Example RFP

  • Example Scoring Rubric

Involving Town Leaders/Select board Members

Negotiating a Fair Contract - should this be in identifying funding section?


  • Have an experienced development professional in the room when talking with private providers. Utilize the MBC network of experts to locate someone who can join in these conversations. 

  • At the end of the day, your ability to influence the outcomes will come down to investment dollars and subscriber count that you can bring to the table. The more community engagement you conduct — collaborating with neighboring towns, and increasing take rates — the better an outcome you will have.  



  • $60.00/month goal for high speed internet

  • Future price increases need to be considered carefully. 1 year of fixed pricing should not be taken as a win. ISPs have no problem increasing prices annually. Spectrum’s investment models incorporate an annual 5% increase. 



  • The state of Maine considers 50mbps/10mbps the minimum for high speed internet and it is shooting for 100mbps/100mbps available to all homes. 

Choosing a Financial Model

Applying for Grant Funding

bottom of page