The Post Road Foundation Announces Selection of Community Partners for Pilot Program on Digital Inclusion and Intelligent Infrastructure

Downeast Economic Development Corporation, Downeast Broadband Utility, Sunrise County Economic Council and Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative are pleased to announce selection by the Post Road Foundation for a prefeasibility study to evaluate the costs and benefits of deploying a fiber optic communications network to homes, businesses and other institutions in the Downeast region. Downeast is one of only five communities in the nation to be selected by the Post Road Foundation. The study, targeted for completion by September 30, 2018, will build on the existing effort of Downeast Broadband to bring fiber-based internet access to Baileyville and Calais and will evaluate the feasibility and means of deploying high-speed internet and intelligent infrastructure in the most effective ways possible for digital inclusion, efficient resource management and economic growth. Funding for the Post Road Foundation program, and related research at Harvard University, has been provided by The Rockefeller Foundation. A portion of the funding for the Downeast study has been provided by the John T. Gorman Foundation and Washington County.

Director of Downeast Broadband, Julie Jordan, remarked: “Partnering with the Post Road Foundation and Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative affords us a wonderful opportunity to explore new ways of using fiber optic technology outside the realm of Internet connectivity. We are pleased and proud to have been selected to participate in the study and are grateful to Post Road Foundation for undertaking the project and for The Rockefeller Foundation’s financial support.” The President and co-founder of the Post Road Foundation, Waide Warner, commended Downeast and the other community partners: “We are very gratified by the exceptional response to our program from a number of deserving applicants around the country, but the leadership of the Downeast region was particularly impressive. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with our Downeast community partners, the other communities, and our research colleagues at Harvard, to explore the potential for bringing high-speed internet to underserved areas of America. We are also grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for the funding that made this program possible.”

Eastern Maine Electric Co-op is a not-for- profit, consumer-owned electric utility serving 3,000 square miles in Aroostook, Penobscot, and Washington Counties.

The Post Road Foundation’s non-profit, research platform bridges the gap between communities and investors by exploring ways to reduce barriers to the development, financing, and deployment of sustainable, intelligent infrastructure, particularly in places lacking 21st century communications.