GrowSmart Maine works in partnership with other organizations to achieve our goal of expanding broadband access and increasing digital equity.
Maine Broadband Coalition Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC) is a network of public policy wonks, educational advocates, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who care deeply about Maine’s digital future. MBC believes in the power of community-driven broadband planning, evidence-based policymaking, and multi-organizational collaboration to enable reliable, accessible, and affordable high-speed internet for everyone. GrowSmart Maine is a member of MBC. Nancy Smith, CEO of GrowSmart Maine, chairs the Maine Broadband Coalition Policy Committee. Join their mailing list and join in the weekly “Let’s Talk Broadband.”
Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) Established in 2021, MCA is a quasi-governmental agency charged with achieving universal access to affordable high-speed broadband in Maine. MCA focuses on projects, places, and people, to expand access to reliable, high-speed, and affordable internet service statewide to advance digital equity for all people in Maine. MCA supports GrowSmart Maine’s Regional and Tribal Broadband Partner.
Test your speed Curious about your internet speed? Take this simple test to help define and advance broadband infrastructure improvement throughout Maine.
National Digital Inclusion Alliance advances digital equity at the national level by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, located within the Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency that is responsible by law for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America.
Institute for Local Self Reliance: Community Broadband Networks, promotes locally rooted and democratically accountable broadband networks that provide fast, affordable, and reliable internet for all Americans. This site has links to many articles, recordings, charts, graphs, and fact sheets relating to broadband.
Digital skills classes:
The National Digital Equity Center is headquartered in Bath, Maine, and serves communities in Maine and nationwide with digital skills training including online classes, group classes at a public location, and planning resources to expand digital equity and digital literacy.
The Maine State Library offers online learning through Learning Express, an interactive online learning platform featuring over 770 practice tests, tutorials, and e-books related to job search workplace skills, and more.
AARP offers online computer skills training. AARP Foundation created video tutorials to help build your digital skills. Listen or watch whenever you want to the step-by-step guides and how-to video tutorials.
Affordable devices for nonprofits and eligible residents:
Give IT. Get IT. is a non-profit organization and certified electronics recycler located in Waterville, Maine. They sell refurbished, affordable, electronic devices like laptops and tablets to nonprofit organizations and eligible individuals. Contact them directly if you need access to an affordable device for school, work, or telehealth.
Defining digital terms and abbreviations
Want to know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Confused about what is a URL or an IP Address?: Check out 20 Internet Terms for Beginners
Broadband 101 is a one-pager on broadband terminology.
Internet Speeds to Meet Your Needs is a one-pager from Education Superhighway that provides a guide to speeds needed for various sizes of households and uses.
For Further Reading: Broadband and Digital Equity Articles
“More Broadband, Less Sprawl” GrowSmart Maine Webinar:
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb-Y2R3aue0&t=2s
Broadband is Good, Spawl is Not, but GrowSmart Maine CEO Nancy Smith: (April 2021)
A profile of Peggy Schaffer in The Daily Yonder. She is the retired director of ConnectMaine Authority. (September 2023) https://dailyyonder.com/a-rural-calling-peggy-schaffer/2023/10/25/
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is winding down. An article by Sean Gonsalves of the Institute for Local Self Reliance and what it means to consumers and the effort to find sustainable funding for this program. (January 2024) https://communitynets.org/content/fcc-and-broadband-providers-prepare-acp-wind-down
Maine Broadband Action Plan and Digital Equity Plan https://www.maineconnectivity.org/digital-equity (scroll down for links to both plans)
America Has a Digital Skills Gap. Libraries Can Help Fix It. A still timely story from 2019 in The Atlantic about how libraries are uniquely positioned to help close the digital divide. https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/grow-google-2019/america-has-digital-skills-gap-libraries-can-help/3091/
Learn more about broadband initiatives and programs:
News and Updates
Drop-in, one-on-one tech help available at rural Kennebec County library for area residents
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program that helps households afford internet service. Eligible households can get $30 off monthly internet (or up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). The week of August 4-12 in Maine is...
GrowSmart Maine and the Kennebec County Digital Equity Working Group submitted to Maine Connectivity Authority a Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion Plan. This is a working plan to understand the barriers people face in connecting to our digital world and provides...
Maine residents who earn less than 200% of FPL or who receive government benefits quality for a reduced internet bill.
GrowSmart Maine hosted a community meeting at the Augusta Multicultural Center in early April to hear about the experiences of people using the internet and the barriers they may face to being digitally connected.
Kennebec County Residents are invited to a Community Meeting to add your voice to Maine's Broadband Action Plan. Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023 Time: 5:30 - 7 :00 pm Location : Augusta Multicultural Center (Capital Area New Mainers Project) Address: 70 State St.,...
The State of Maine, through the Maine Connectivity Authority, is developing a Broadband Action Plan to decide how $250 million in federal funds should be used to expand access to high-speed internet and ensure that we all have what we need to connect to the digital...
The Kennebec County Broadband Partnership is creating a Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan and we need your help!
As the Maine Connectivity Authority gears up to help achieve Governor Mills's promise that "every person in Maine who wants a reliable and affordable internet connection can have one by the end of 2024," we thought you might appreciate this article "Everything You...
The Maine Connectivity Authority needs your help! January 13th, 2023 is the last day to submit challenges to the FCC maps that will help determine Maine's Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program allocation. Visit MCA's Correct the Dots page below for...