Wilton Selectboard discusses MCA grant for high-speed internet

4 mins read

WILTON – Chris Lynch of Matrix Design Group shared an update on the Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) grant. Lynch came to the board back in November to share an opportunity for the town of Wilton to upgrade their internet access: the MCA changed their way of discerning who is eligible for the grant, which meant that the entirety of Wilton could be considered.

Now, Lynch has more good news: the grant application has been provisionally approved by the MCA. If it is accepted, the town will receive over $3.7 million. The grant will also cover Perkins and Washington Townships.

There were a few updates to the application. Firstly, the MCA provided new data showing that 1,500 houses in Wilton are eligible for fiber internet, rather than the original 500.

It has also been discovered that because of MCA’s pricing level tiers, broadband internet is free to low income households. The pricing for their residential broadband speed of 100 / 100 megabits went down from $95 to under $60 per month. Lynch and the Matrix Design Group feel that will be “very competitive for everybody in town, something that is going to be affordable.”

The MCA will have final approval of the application on February 13. It will then be passed on to the board and finally decided on February 24. Lynch is hopeful that Wilton will receive the grant.

Executive Director of Mt Blue TV Andre Cormier visited the Wilton selectboard to give a yearly update of what the station has been doing. Cormier discussed a project that MBTV is currently working on for the town of Wilton. They are archiving all of the selectboard meetings going back to 2016 so that they will be accessible for the town. Keith requested that Cormier give updates more frequently, suggested quarterly updates on the station’s happenings, and Cormier agreed.

“The station really tries to be a resource for all the towns we cover,” Cormier explained. “We push to do as much as we can with what we have.”

He explained that on that day, MBTV was covering the selectboard meeting, a basketball game, and a Franklin County Commissioners meeting all at the same time.

Selectperson Mike Wells gave a recap of the recent Wilton Road Committee meeting. Wells is the selectboard representative on the committee. He informed the board that the town is falling behind in road maintenance. Public Works is currently operating under a ten year plan, covering the 50 miles of road 5 miles per year. However, the plan isn’t working.

Recently, John Masse, Public Works Foreman, and the rest of his department have been experimenting with a new method of repaving roads, called chip seal or oil and stone, which involves putting down liquid tar and stone. This method has worked well and allows the roads to heal faster and last longer. The committee also discussed how the town builds their road bases and how this might affect their longevity. Selectperson Wells said that this will appear in this year’s budget. He also assured the board that they are trying to make sure that they are spending their budget effectively and efficiently as they play catch up on road repair.

This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org

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