Maine residents have a chance to shape the future development of broadband service, according to a press release.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA) on January 12 awarded the ConnectME Authority about $1.3 million for broadband data collection and mapping over a two-year period and almost $440,000 for broadband planning over a five-year period.

Nationwide, NITA has awarded 51 grants totaling about $97 million for this broadband mapping program, according a NITA press release. The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The James W. Sewall Co. has won a three-year project with the ConnectME Authority to map broadband service availability for the entire state of Maine.

This complex project will engage about 40 broadband service providers across the region, using existing service information to create a representation of served, unserved and underserved communities, according to a press release from Sewell.

As part of this project there is a Web-based tool that allows individuals to test the connection speed of there internet service. This publicly accessible solution independently stores each connection test run from a location, providing valuable verification information gathered randomly and independent of the other process steps.

This data will be reviewed by the project team and, in conjunction with other verification information used to corroborate the published map information. Ultimately, the data created will help shape the development of broadband service and aid consumers as a search tool for identifying service providers and service options available to specific addresses.

Residents can contribute to the data used by future decision makers in establishing a long-term plan designed to enhance Maine’s social and economic opportunities these technologies provide.

Please log onto our site at from locations where you access the internet and follow the instructions provided.

The test takes less than a minute to complete and the only requested from you is the address location you are currently accessing the system from. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. Wider coverage in the speed test data collected will provide better results in service validation.