In the last few months, OTELCO has been working with the town of Alton, ME on an exciting municipal broadband project that would provide Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) to the entire community. On March 30th, at their annual town meeting, Alton voters unanimously approved a $150,000 appropriation to fund fiber expansion. The $150,000 is coming from the Juniper Ridge Fund, which allowed the town to invest in the project without having to impact property tax. With the passing of the appropriation, OTELCO and Alton are ready to apply for a ConnectME grant.
Some brief history on this project: the movement for Fiber in Alton started in 2017 when OTELCO was awarded a $78,000 grant from the ConnectME Authority to build out FTTP on Bennoch Rd. Since then, 69 homes have become Lightwave Fiber eligible. Recently, town officials decided they wanted to extend that build.
Alton Town Administrator, Ron Borja, explained that “Once word spread that OTELCO completed the fiber build to the 69 locations at the north end of town along the Bennoch Road, we saw a situation of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’” In an attempt to bridge the towns broadband gap, Alton collaborated with OTELCO. OTELCO plans to extend the existing Fiber build to 260 additional locations. The extension will require the installation of multiple utility poles along Tannery Rd.
The project’s estimated budget is $700,000. To make that budget work, OTELCO suggested a three-way funding model that splits the cost between us, the town and the ConnectME authority as follows:
- A $150,000 appropriation from Alton
- A $290,000 investment from OTELCO
- A $260,000 grant from the ConnectME Authority
The first step in funding was assuring the $150,000 appropriation, and now that it has been approved the next step is to apply for a ConnectME grant.
OTELCO will be applying to the ConnectME authority during the upcoming grant round. If the application is successful, and we secure the grant, construction will start within the month. The best way for OTELCO to ensure the success of the application is by showing the authority that the project has the support of at least 85% of the homes being served. If you are an Alton resident, you can show ConnectME that you are behind the project by completing our online support form.* Your support can make all the difference for your town.
*Please note that submissions are based on location, not on the number of people who submit. As much as we enjoy hearing from each resident, for clerical reasons we request you limit your support to one form per household.
Update: We got the grant!
OTELCO was awarded the full grant amount from the ConnectME Authority. With the full $260,000, we will be able to bring fiber to 260 homes in Alton. The build will start mid-summer, with an estimated six month build time. Keep an eye on our Alton page for future updates.