ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County Commissioners will host a municipal leaders forum about broadband funding on Monday, Oct. 25, from 5 to 6 p.m.
The meeting will be held via the online conferencing platform Zoom. The link will be on the Hancock County website.
County Administrator Scott Adkins said this will be the first meeting to introduce the county’s efforts toward expanding broadband service.
The commissioners intend to use some of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding toward broadband efforts in Hancock County. Hancock County has received $5.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds and is slated to receive another $5.3 million in 2022.
The county has hired Mission Broadband in Bangor to facilitate the broadband work. The business’s vice president, John Dougherty, is scheduled to be at the Oct. 25 meeting.
“The first step is the gathering of data, through multiple methods, and this is done for a couple of significant reasons,” Adkins explained. “One, you need to know where you are to map the path to where you wish to be. Secondly, just as important, this information is crucial to applying and securing additional federal monies. If we can coordinate with our municipalities, the process should be expedited as well as avoid any duplication of effort.
“In the end, we have a great foundation for each community to build in a fashion that fits their needs. Even though the county is willing to provide resources and funding for this portion, there needs to be a buy-in and commitment on the part of our municipalities for this to work in a productive and equitable fashion.”
At a special meeting of the board Tuesday, Oct. 19, the commissioners touched briefly on the fact that they have not yet decided how much funding to put toward broadband efforts.