China Broadband Committee goal explained in document

Provide reliable, high-speed broadband service to all China residents

by Mary Grow

China Broadband Committee (CBC) members spent most of a two-hour April 22 meeting wordsmithing the document they plan to share with selectmen on April 29, with assistance from consultants James Dougherty and Mark Van Loan, from Mission Broadband, and Selectboard Chairman Ronald Breton.

The document is to explain what the CBC has been doing and what committee members would like the selectboard to do to further its goal.

The goal is to provide reliable, high-speed broadband service to all China residents at an affordable price. Committee members have been negotiating with Machias-based Axiom Technologies to achieve the goal.

Their proposal is that Axiom will oversee construction of a fiberoptic network in China that the town will own. Axiom will also, under contract, be the service provider for China residents, running the network and taking care of maintenance, repairs, billing and customer service.

Project construction costs are now estimated at between $4.25 million and $5.5 million, depending on how many houses are connected. How many houses are connected depends to a great extent on how many people sign up as customers.

Paying for the project comes in at least two parts – committee members hope three parts. They intend to ask selectmen to issue a 20-year bond to provide up-front money for construction; customers’ monthly fees will repay the bond and pay for Axiom’s services; and federal grants might cover up to 10% of the cost, depending on how the government authorizes money to be used.

Since their April 15 meeting, committee members had worked individually on a shared on-line document that they reviewed and clarified as they discussed it together, with Selectman Breton’s questions suggesting some of the changes.

They decided to meet again at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, to make final adjustments. The time was chosen to avoid a China Planning Board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 27. Breton said if the selectmen have the document Wednesday morning, April 28, they should be ready to talk about it by 7 p.m., Thursday, April 29.


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