SEARSMONT — The Searsmont Broadband Advisory Task Force will present a free, public informational meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Searsmont Community Building and on Zoom.
The meeting will report to Searsmont residents on the volunteer Task Force’s progress since it was formed six months ago. It will present data collected from residents and mapping on Searsmont’s low level of internet service, suggest future actions, answer questions and listen to residents’ suggestions. Residents will also hear from people representing the nearby towns of Liberty, Palermo, Montville, and Freedom. Those towns, along with Searsmont, make up the Southwest Waldo County Broadband Coalition.
“The goal of the Task Force and the SWCBC is to provide every Searsmont and SWCBC town resident with access to high-speed, affordable broadband internet service,” said Searsmont Selectboard member Pete Milinazzo. “The data we have collected tells us that 96 percent of Searsmont’s 70 miles of road are either underserved or not served at all by current internet service providers. In today’s world, high speed internet for work, education, telehealth, recreation and communication is a necessity, not a luxury.”
He added that “As a Task Force member and Searsmont’s representative on the SWCBC board, I know all of us are looking forward to providing information, answering questions about the broadband expansion effort and hearing what residents suggest we do next.”
Milinazzo noted that the current SWCBC plan is to create a municipally-owned, open access public utility, and not to fund the effort with any local taxes.
For more information about the Sept. 21 public informational meeting, contact the Searsmont Town Office at 207-342-5411. For information about the Southwest Waldo County Broadband Coalition, go to http://www.swwaldobroadband.org.