FARMINGTON — A Biddeford-based telecommunications company is hoping to bring broadband internet to parts of Franklin County within the next one to two years and will be seeking to gauge interest from residents in the next few weeks.

“This is something that will really allow the community to grow as it wants to grow,” said Kerem Durdag, chief operating officer for GWI. “It’s part of the 21st century. It’s part of economic development. We believe we need to give people that choice.”

On Tuesday, Durdag brought the company’s intentions to the Farmington Board of Selectmen, saying GWI has been looking heavily at plans to bring more reliable and faster internet to Farmington and is planning to apply for a federal loan to build the infastructure.

In order to apply for the loan, the company needs to submit the results of a community survey gauging the interest and willingness of residents to pay for broadband internet.

Durdag said the survey will be conducted via phone and primarily will ask residents if they are interested in purchasing broadband and if so, how much they would be willing to pay. It probably will take place during the first few weeks of September.

Even if the loan application is unsuccessful, Durdag said, the company plans to move forward with bringing in broadband, though it would be a slower process. The estimated cost is several million dollars.

GWI is also in discussions with Chesterville and New Sharon about the prospect of bringing broadband to those communities. The company expects to find out in six to nine months whether it will receive the loan. In total it would be about one to two years before broadband is in place.

Selectmen on Tuesday also approved a reccomendation from the downtown TIF advisory committee to allow the Farmington Police Department to pursue installation of 10 security cameras downtown.

The cost of the cameras would be $7,700 in the first year, including purchase and installation. The cost of maintaining the cameras in subsequent years would be $1,650 annually and would come out of Police Department funds.

In other news Tuesday, the board approved the wording for a referendum to appear before voters in the Nov. 6 elections asking residents whether they want to authorize the removal of the Walton’s Mill Dam through an agreement with the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

The federation has said it would fund a $1.2 million proposal to remove the dam and make upgrades to the Mill Pond Park at no cost to the town.

Final discussions are taking place this week to set the 2018-2019 tax rate, which is expected to be slightly less than the current tax rate of $19.74.

Selectmen on Tuesday approved funding from the downtown TIF to offset taxes and approved an overlay of about $35,000. The assessor is expected to set the final rate by the end of the week.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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