The Maine Community Foundation’s has awarded $15,000 in a grant to the city of Biddeford to be used to create a Broadband Plan that will help Biddeford move toward to becoming a ‘Smart Community.’  ANGELA PAOLUCCI/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — The Maine Community Foundation’s new Community Broadband Grant Program has awarded $15,000 in a grant to the city of Biddeford to be used to create a Broadband Plan that will help Biddeford move toward becoming a “Smart Community.”

It is part of $130,000 in grants awarded to 11 communities across Maine and the program aims to increase the number of Maine people, communities, and businesses with access to high-speed internet service and improve skills, knowledge, and opportunity to effectively use the technology.

Biddeford will now mobilize a Community Broadband Team that will hire a broadband consultant to identify broadband needs in Biddeford’s low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. This consultant will create a map demonstrating existing broadband connections, gaps in service, and opportunities for expansion, and will work with staff to identify obstacles to meeting broadband needs, including issues of affordability and proprietary delivery of services.

A digital literacy outreach strategy to help overcome these obstacles will also be developed and implemented by the city’s Neighborhood Planning Committee.

“Increasingly, quality of life — and communication — for Maine people, communities, and businesses is improved by the ability to access reliable, affordable high-speed internet,” said Maggie Drummond-Bahl, MaineCF senior program officer. “We are proud to be one of many partners helping to boost local and regional efforts to improve connectivity across Maine.”

The Community Broadband Grant Program will continue in 2019 and details are available at www.mainecf.org.

To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.

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