PORTLAND – AARP Maine and the Maine Broadband Coalition have partnered to create the County Connector program to coordinate, across Maine’s 16 counties, an effort to urge local elected officials and town leadership to prioritize state and federal broadband funding that best serves each community and county.

“Towns and counties have millions of dollars in federal funding available, yet there is no statewide, coordinated, grassroots campaign to be sure those funds are utilized to build out an affordable, high-speed internet grid that leaves no Mainer behind,” said Japhet Els, associate state director for AARP Maine. “This is a tremendous opportunity for volunteers to connect more Mainers to a modern broadband network and assist local efforts to find the best solution for each town.”

County Connectors will be the facilitators of Maine’s future interconnected broadband framework. This includes:

●     Recruiting cities and towns to sign on to the Maine Broadband Principles pledge.

●     Connecting local leaders with the resources they need to make crucial decisions around broadband policy and funding

●     Building a local coalition of support from local businesses, organizations and community leaders.

●     Plugging into existing local broadband conversations and efforts.

●     Educating friends, neighbors, and community on “broadband basics.”

●     Serving as a resource for other County Connectors facing similar community challenges.

●     Helping to guide broadband funding opportunities at the local level.

●     Making sure access to broadband is affordable for all community members.

Already more than 30 AARP Maine volunteers have signed up for training, and are working in their own communities supporting a modern broadband connection at an affordable rate, for all .

To join the County Connector effort, AARP Maine encourages interested residents throughout the state to take the first step and sign up online, here.To learn more about AARP and our work in Maine, visit www.aarp.org/me and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @aarpmaine.