TO: The Board of the Maine Connectivity Authority
From: The Maine Broadband Coalition - Advisory Committee
Greetings Incoming Board Members,
As you prepare for your first board meeting, The Broadband Coalition wants to extend a warm welcome to you in your new role as it is full of hope and anticipation.
While many of you are familiar with The Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC) - some of you may not be amidst what has been significant evolution in the last two years. We would like to take this opportunity to update you and to share some thoughts as to how we may be as helpful and supportive to your efforts as possible.
MBC has had a critical role in shaping broadband policy in Maine for most of the last decade. Now with over 2,500 members from around the State, led by an Advisory Committee of over 3 dozen organizations, companies, non-profits, and public agencies representing a range of industry type, sector, and geography, we serve as a critical hub of broadband policy, programming and partnerships. As a primary voice of internet consumers - we prioritize a community driven approach to broadband implementation upon the premise that informed, engaged and educated citizens are what enable organized efforts to build out better internet options. Those organized efforts are what enable community buy-in (and funding) and the ability to pursue public private partnerships.
In addition to an ongoing role in tracking and advocating broadband policy issues, we also host, support and implement a range of programmatic efforts to increase public education and awareness and advance community capacity and readiness.
As you may know we have had a critical role in drafting the legislation proposing the Connectivity Authority; informing amendments throughout the legislative process; and testifying in support of the legislation as well as in support of you as a full slate of incoming board members. Your role - and the role of the Connectivity Authority cannot be overstated in importance as to the future of Maine’s prosperity, economic competitiveness and sustained quality of life.
It is with this context that we seek to support your efforts as a new agency with a few ideas, principles and questions.
Please consider us a partner in communicating updates and information to the public. As the hub of broadband information in Maine we are happy to amplify your communications as needed.
We may not always agree with policies or decisions - but we will always come to discussions with an orientation towards proactive solutions. Please let us know when and how to engage with you.
We are technology and model agnostic. That said we have a bias towards community driven initiatives and proven, reliable, future proof technology that maximizes public investments and choice for consumers.
We recognize that place, time, and money matter. There are a variety of models to adapt that utilize public ownership, public private partnerships, or market-based expansion. We are excited to work with you in exploration and adaptation of the models that can make the most sense in different places.
We believe in liberating data for evidence based decision making. We have already started expanding the data sets and maps to augment current FCC maps via the Maine Speedtesting Initiative.
Investing in community and regional capacity is paramount in creating investment ready opportunities. The MBC and an array of partners are building more ways to boost community capacity, fuel technical assistance and ultimately create more viable projects and partnerships.
While the tools and resources available to you will allow us to collectively do things in new ways in Maine - we hope to collaborate with you to continue leveraging and growing the groundswell of Maine’s community and regional approaches. The funds made available to the Connectivity Authority are unprecedented, and the opportunity for long-term impact immense. We also know there is a pressure to demonstrate results as fast as possible as the need for better connectivity is clear and present. To that extent we hope you view the Broadband Coalition as a key collaborative partner with which to strategize and coordinate.
The Maine Broadband Coalition Advisory Committee
Central Aroostook Chamber
City of Bangor
City of Presque Isle
Community Concepts Finance Corporation
Downeast Broadband Utility
Katahdin Region Broadband Utility
Maine Farmland Trust
Maine Family Planning
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Maine Public Health Association
National Digital Equity Resource Center
Northeast Telehealth Resource Center
Northern Forest Center
Sunrise County Economic Development Council