SANFORD — Broadband is one step closer to connecting here ”“ though there are several steps to go.

In a recent update to the city council, City Manager Steve Buck said primary and secondary reviews and interviews with prospective vendors have been conducted, and will be presented to the council and the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council by the end of July.

High-speed broadband, proponents say, is an essential tool to attract business and industry from the Route 128 Massachusetts corridor and beyond.

A study conducted for the city in 2014 by Tilson Technology Management found that a new, high-speed broadband system designed with business attraction, growth and retention in mind has the potential to inject $47-$192 million to Sanford’s economy over the next decade.

It goes on to say that communities that don’t have or get high-speed broadband will be left behind.

To that end, the city sought proposals from providers.

Sanford is looking at ways to finance construction of the network that it would own and control, with operation in the hands of a third party, said Buck in a prior interview.

Sanford Economic Growth Council director Jim Nimon this spring said the city and the growth council are looking to partner with companies to take advantage of existing infrastructure and providers to create a system called an “open access non-discriminatory fiber network” that would be owned and controlled by the city and then utilized by providers.

“The process has been a very steep learning curve and one that has challenged both those involved on behalf of the city as well as the teams of providers within the industry,” Buck said in his most recent report to the council July 7. “It is clear that Sanford has started a new conversation not yet had within our state and one that will lead to an economic partnership in the near future, a partnership that will redefine Sanford’s connectivity with the world.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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