The China Broadband Committee (CBC) will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, in the portable building behind the China town office to talk about next steps to expand internet access, after being denied a Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) grant.
CBC members have been working with the Maine subsidiary of Idaho-based Direct Communications, the former Unitel in Unity. After the MCA’s grant committee met at the end of November, Jayne Sullivan, of Direct Communications notified CBC chairman Robert O’Connor that China’s application had scored high, but not high enough to get funds.
Sullivan surmised the rejection might have been because “there is too much area in the town that did not qualify for funding,” that is, area that, by state definitions, is already adequately served.
The purpose of the Dec. 7 meeting is to consider next steps as Sullivan and China committee members continue to work toward expanded internet access throughout the town. Sullivan mentioned remaining state funds as one possibility.
China’s 2022 application for funding was rejected at the beginning of 2023. Since then, however, mapping of service areas has been improved and MCA has amended parts of its grant program, leading to a new submission in September 2023.
Sullivan said that an application from the Waldo Broadband Corporation had received a favorable recommendation and will be presented for funding at the Dec. 12 MCA board meeting. WBC consists of the towns of Freedom, Liberty, Montville, Palermo and Searsmont; they, too are working with Direct Communications.
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