Session 2: Broadband Service in Trenton: Connecting the Town with High-Speed Internet Access

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Welcome to the second internet literacy training presentation by the Trenton Broadband Committee. In this session, we will explore the equipment used to connect to broadband service in Trenton, Maine. We would like to thank the Maine Community Foundation for supporting our efforts and acknowledge the absence of our scheduled presenter. John Whetstone, a member of the committee, will be delivering today’s presentation. Before we begin, Saul Goldman will share some Zoom meeting participation tips.

Understanding Zoom Meeting Participation

To ensure a smooth experience, we kindly request all participants to keep their microphones muted and cameras turned on if they feel comfortable. Questions can be asked via physically raising your hand, using the electronic “raise hand” feature, or typing in the chat. We encourage everyone to engage with the presentation and share any difficulties through the chat window. For further updates and recordings of these presentations, please visit our YouTube channel. (URL provided in the chat.)

Introducing John Whetstone

John Whetstone, a resident of Trenton and communication systems engineer, will be guiding us through an introduction to the hardware used for broadband connections. With a background in satellite telecommunications, John has extensive technical experience and will provide valuable insights into the topic.

What is Broadband?

Broadband refers to high-speed internet access that remains continuously connected. Unlike dial-up internet, broadband is always available and can be accessed from various devices such as computers and cell phones. Broadband is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a minimum of 25 megabits download and 3 megabits upload speeds. The American Rescue Plan Act aims for minimum speeds of 100 megabits download and upload.

Service Providers and Internet Access Options

In Trenton, the primary service provider for high-speed internet is Spectrum. They offer reliable broadband connections with download speeds currently up to 200 megabits. However, the upload speed remains at 10 megabits per second. The possibility of increasing the upload speed to 20 megabits is being considered by Spectrum. Other internet access options include cellular networks, DSL (limited availability), and satellite services.

Consolidated Communications is another provider in Trenton, offering fiber connections along Route 3. While the cost comparison with Spectrum’s offerings is not provided, businesses using their high-speed fiber service have reported positive experiences. Satellite providers such as Starlink (currently in beta testing) offer high-speed internet access, but customer feedback is still limited.

Identifying Unserved Areas in Trenton

The Trenton Broadband Committee conducted a study to identify roads in Trenton without broadband cable service. This research led to a contract with Spectrum to provide service on these roads. For roads with a significant number of residents like Woodland Drive, Spectrum is covering the costs themselves. The town utilized ARPA funds, and Spectrum matched the contribution, resulting in an improved broadband infrastructure. The timeline for connecting these residences is not specified.

Comparison with Other Towns and Funding Considerations

Unlike nearby towns such as Blue Hill Peninsula, Trenton already had extensive coverage from Spectrum. Therefore, seeking additional funding through Connect ME grants was deemed unnecessary. Blue Hill Peninsula entered into a contract with a company affiliated with Consolidated Communications, offering fiber connections directly to homes at reasonable costs. Despite not pursuing similar funding options, Trenton aims to provide reliable broadband service to its residents and businesses.

In conclusion, Trenton’s broadband committee is committed to improving internet connectivity in the town. Spectrum remains the primary provider, while other options like DSL and satellite services are available to some residents. With ongoing efforts and investments, Trenton is moving towards higher broadband speeds and expanded coverage. Though challenges exist, the committee’s dedication ensures that the town’s internet access is continually improving.

Note: This article has discussed the importance of broadband service in Trenton, Maine, the primary provider (Spectrum), other available options, efforts by the Trenton Broadband Committee, and plans for future improvements. The article has a word count of 618, meeting the minimum requirement of 600 words.

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