Cumberland Oxford Lakes Area Broadband Initiative
The Cumberland Oxford Lakes Area Broadband (COLAB) Project is a multi- community broadband planning effort in Northern Cumberland County and South-Western Oxford County. The project was formed at the request of the multiple town managers and broadband planning committees who felt that the time was right for a coordinated broadband planning and development process in the Lakes region of Cumberland and Oxford Counties.
Several factors contributed to the formation of this group. One was the already existing momentum of community driven broadband planning in Cumberland & Oxford County towns. This momentum began in 2020 when six (6) of the ten (10) communities that make up the COLAB group participated in a focused broadband training and capacity building effort The Maine West Broadband Bootcamp. Due to their participation in this program many of these towns were launched forward to a similar stage in broadband process and planning.
In addition, four of the towns (Naples/ Harrison and Sebago/Standish) were hosting a Resilience Corps Fellow through GPCOG to ensure coordination and standardization of committee activities, which resulted in the realization that similar efforts were occurring across the towns and that there existed a desire to explore collaborative options. As a result, GPCOG brought the towns together to discuss the potential of planning for and exploring broadband expansion options as a region. The decision was to work together as a group with support from GPCOG and the Regional Partners: Travis Kennedy with Cumberland County, Mia Purcell with Community Concepts, and Mike Wilson with the Northern Forest Center.