Broadband Advisory Committee

St. George Community Development Corporation

12/13/17 6:30PM

Participants:  Jeff Boulet, Susan Bates, Van Thompson, John Knuerr, John Maltais, Alane Kennedy

Assigning a point person:  Susan Bates is the Point Person for this committee

Susan explains the history of her role with this group.  From her attendance at the community advisory meeting earlier in the year, she selected this as her mission because she felt it was an issue that hit almost all areas of the Community Development Corporation’s mission.    

Jeff reviewed the history of the Town Ad Hoc Broadband Committee.  

Jeff’s handout included history and can be viewed here:

Jeff provided additional information on the mobile hotspot lending program at Jackson Memorial Library.  Discussion continued on the hotspot validity as a solution to broadband issues in St. George. Jeff showed the group one of the hotspots soon to be available at the library. This could be a valid solution for many in the community.  Especially for those unable to afford internet access.

There was a discussion about the St. George School hotspot program.  It was suggested that we start the project on the basis to make sure all students have access to the internet at home.  Alane stated that the school’s hotspot program has only distributed a mobile unit to one student. That there may not be a school-based need.  

It was speculated that we are probably looking at a patchwork solution for broadband in St.George.  That there may be multiple solutions to meet the needs of the town.

Discussion of next steps.  

John M. feels this is definitely going to be a patchwork solution.  Van added that entire roads like Roaring Spout would cost around 60000 to install infrastructure for the entire road.  This is an example of the mixed needs in our community and our first mission will be to better identify what each household actually needs.

Education discussion.  What portion of the community actually doesn’t understand broadband, have issues with their home equipment, how many things could we resolve through education. Having the ability to discuss each homes’ needs would be ideal, as there are a variety of situations around the peninsula and every home is different.   

Susan proposes that our first step is to allow residents to contact us for home internet assessments.  And from there, build our larger assessment on community broadband needs.

John K. asked about towers that provide access to whole parts of town.  We talked about the town ad hoc committee’s research with Redzone and the pricing difference and lack of savings for the community.  Alane also mentioned that the existing tower doesn’t offer service to the Port Clyde and an additional tower would have to be put up.  

As a group, we have decided to tackle this on a community level with a campaign to offer home visits and home internet assessments.  As well as have John and Jeff do outreach through the library’s tech program. Alane will act as administrator/dispatcher for installing a website form and using the CDC’s phone to accept requests for assistance.  

General process:  Individuals will complete an online form or call the CDC office for an “intake” assessment.  Alane will let the committee volunteers conducting home visits know about the resident request.  The committee volunteer will contact the resident and schedule a home visit. We will compile information in a google drive file.  To develop the “intake” form, we will collaborate via google docs to determine what information we wish to have on those who contact us.  The end goal is to get a true assessment of whether people just don’t understand what they are paying for if they have dated equipment impacting their service if a hotspot would be a valid option for them and more to be determined through the group document.