Numerous towns located in a region of southeastern Maine dubbed “Paddler’s Paradise” by outdoor adventurers and watersports fans are exploring more collaborative ways to improve local Internet connectivity. The Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) recently issued a request for proposal [pdf] on behalf of several towns located in the Sebago Lakes region of Cumberland County, Maine. Proposals are due May 31st.
GPCOG, in partnership with Cumberland County, the Community Concepts Finance Corporation, and the Northern Forest Center, is seeking technical assistance to coordinate a regional, multi-town approach to better broadband.
Upon embarking on individual, citywide approaches to improve Internet access, the towns of Bridgton, Denmark, Fryeburg, Harrison, Naples, Raymond, Sebago and Standish recognized that a regional approach would improve efficiency and speed efforts.
(See chart, right, which details the preliminary, planning stages that have been completed by communities, and which they have yet to address.)
The coalition is interested in selecting one or more broadband consultants to coordinate the individualized approaches of each of the towns. Consultants will be tasked with combining and building upon the assets of each to develop a regional proposal for a faster and more coordinated buildout of networks.
Read the full RFP here [pdf].
Goals of the Proposal
Selected consultants are expected to provide a range of services to a multi-town task force, which will provide direction on the project. Specific services required of consultants include:
- providing an overview of technologies available for the build
- considering futureproof goals of the task force and regional partners
- assisting towns in defining broadband connectivity goals
- developing estimates of probable costs
- surveying existing broadband infrastructure
- developing maps to identify unserved and underserved areas within each community
How to Submit
Proposals are to be submitted by email no later than May 31st to Andrew Butcher (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Innovation and Resilience at GPCOG. Questions regarding this request must be submitted in writing to email@example.com no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on May 21, 2021.
Incumbent providers, mainly Spectrum and Consolidated Communications, have failed to upgrade broadband infrastructure for residents of Cumberland County. Though the county is one of the more densely populated areas of the state and home to the state capitol of Portland, many of the towns still don’t have access to broadband as defined by the FCC (25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload.)