Regional Broadband

An initiative by Cumberland County and participating municipalities to improve access to broadband

Research

Home to roughly 293,000 residents, Cumberland County is the most populous county in Maine - accounting for twenty percent of the state’s population within less than five percent of the land mass. Despite our relative density, many towns in Cumberland County meet the USDA Rural Development Classification of “rural” under 7-CFR 1738.

Several Cumberland County municipalities suffer from a lack of access to affordable, high-speed broadband. Even consumers living along major arteries in the County report that they cannot gain access to acceptable speeds for home and business use. These towns have come to accept that a private sector solution is unlikely, and so they are exploring municipal investment.

But an individual community venturing into the world of municipal broadband will run into countless roadblocks: from absorbing the cost of construction and maintenance to the complexity of make-ready negotiations to establishing service contracts, to the question of whether usage rates will support the investment long term. A combination of these barriers - risk, cost, and complexity - can stop a municipally-supported broadband project in its tracks.

Based on feedback from our community leaders, Cumberland County has made access to broadband a priority goal. With limited resources and no home rule, our capability to support this goal lies in planning, education, advocacy, and very strategic funding. Early in 2018, Cumberland County secured a planning grant of $25,000 through the Community Development Block Grant Program to help interested communities form a regional utility; and a construction grant for a portion of their multi-town project when they are ready to move forward.

In November 2018, Cumberland County selected the James W. Sewall Company in Old Town after an open RFP process that attracted qualified bids from all across the country to perform this research and playbook development process.

View the full report: Cumberland County Broadband Playbook

View the entire Project: Connect Cumberland Document

Community Wifi

Details coming soon!

Project: Connect Cumberland

Connect Cumberland 

Broadband Resource Study

Based on feedback from community leaders, the Cumberland County Commissioners have made access to broadband a priority goal. With limited resources and no home rule, our capability to support this goal lies in planning, education, advocacy, and very strategic funding. Cumberland County has earned a federal grant to launch a research project that will help our communities identify where the need exists for better access to broadband, and how to achieve it. 


Project Background and goals
Background for Broadband RFP: Project: Connect Cumberland summary

2018 Request for Proposals materials (resulted in hiring James W. Sewall Company)
RFP for Broadband Planning and Utility Guidance
Answers to contractor questions about broadband RFP

Final Report
View the full report prepared by Casco Bay Advisors and the James W. Sewall Company here


Contact Us


Travis Kennedy
Travis Kennedy
Director of Public Affairs
Phone: 2078718380
kennedy@cumberlandcounty.org