Upping our Broadband Game

by Nancy Smith, Executive Director, GrowSmart Maine

I’m participating in my first Zoom meeting of the week and getting more comfortable with it, given the half dozen or so I’ve participated in over the past two weeks. This one is with the Maine Broadband Coalition as we discuss immediate needs for Mainers adapting to working and learning from home. 

The National Digital Equity Center is sharing tablets with hot spot capability for both public school students and seniors as an immediate strategy to address gaps in access to broadband. In addition, all their online training is now being offered free of charge. It’s well worth checking out at the National Digital Equity Center classes.

The need is outlined in a recent editorial in the Portland Press Herald, which really makes the point by opening with this statement, “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how the internet can be a literal lifesaver.”

As an extrovert accustomed to connecting with professional and personal friends and allies, I do not enjoy isolation. But I find comfort in knowing we are isolating ourselves to do our part in minimizing the damage done by this virus to our communities and those we care about. When the time is right, there is a lot to discuss about how smart growth practices make a community more connected and more fiscally sustainable while still allowing for and welcoming growth.

For now, it’s enough to say that I’m proud to be a Mainer as I see so many of us making the small sacrifices to protect everyone in our community.