MILO — More than a year ago the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) began to use $120,000 awarded from the Office of the Maine Attorney General for broadband internet planning by working with Axiom Technologies of Machias to conduct a survey across the region to help develop a regional technology plan intended to promote economic and community development.
At a Feb. 6 select meeting of the Milo selectmen, PCEDC Executive Director Chris Winstead said a year prior he met with the county commissioners and then the dozen-plus selectboards. “We worked our way to each of the communities asking if you would like to be part of a broadband initiative,” he said, saying town officials across the region were aware that broadband access is a challenge in the county.
Winstead said the PCEDC also met with area internet service providers and conducted surveys of more than 400 area residents and 100 businesses to develop some perspective solutions. The result is a regional technology plan as well as a digital inclusion and regional workforce plan — both of which are scheduled to be posted at www.pcedc.org in the future.
Each community in Piscataquis County has its own challenges and unique circumstances. Winstead said Milo does have the three-ring binder — made up of high-speed fiber for broadband — going through town, an advantage compared to some other communities. “The best way to put it is the federal government built us a highway but they did not build any off-ramps,” Winstead said about a still present challenge.
Stuart Hedstrom, Piscataquis Observer • February 13, 2018