With overwhelming support from their voters, the towns of Freedom, Liberty, Montville, Palermo and Searsmont have formed the Waldo Broadband Corp., a nonprofit Broadband Utility District that will bring affordable, high-speed internet service to everyone in the five Waldo County communities.

“After nearly two years of planning, meeting, mapping, data collection, a feasibility study and community conversations, the Waldo Broadband Corp. is moving ahead,” WBC President Bob Kurek of Palermo said in a press release.

“The member towns held special town meetings in July and August, and the vote to create the municipality-owned nonprofit corporation was nearly unanimous. People in our towns have very poor internet connections, or no connection at all. Now the WBC is prepared to help change that.”

The five towns have created an interlocal agreement defining the Waldo Broadband Corp. Each town has named one member to serve on its board of directors, and corporate papers are being filed with the state of Maine and the IRS.

WBC’s first task is to create a request for proposals to begin the planning, design and building of a fiber-optic broadband network that will be available and affordable to every resident and business in Freedom, Liberty, Montville, Palermo and Searsmont, according to the press release.

WBC has retained Mission Broadband in Bangor as a third-party consultant to oversee issuing the RFP to 16 potential internet service providers, and to help evaluate responses to that RFP in the coming weeks and months, according to the press release.

WBC is also preparing to work with those internet service provider companies to seek financial support for the five-town network buildout from state, federal and private foundation sources, the release said.

“We have come a very long way from those first informal meetings in 2020,” Kurek said. “Five Waldo County towns are working together. And together we will make a future for our residents so they can work, run businesses, learn, get health services and be entertained through high-speed internet connections.”

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