Broadband / Internet


UPDATED 1/18/2023

Where are we in the process?

Thank you to everyone in town for your patience while our high-speed broadband project continues to go through the pre-construction phase of the process. For the last few months, the municipal broadband board and the first selectman have been busy with several necessary steps to complete before construction of the network can begin, which should start in the second half of 2023 if all goes well. 

Volunteers put up the two temporary white storage sheds next to the town office where the fiber and related equipment for the project is to be stored, and some of the material purchased through the federal grant has already begun to be delivered. In the first half of next year, we will also do some work at the school where the broadband project's central office will be located, to be sure everything is ready for the start of construction of the network.

Before construction can begin, the town must negotiate and sign "pole attachment" agreements with the two owners of the utility poles in Somerville, namely CMP and Consolidated Communications (the phone company). Once the lengthy legal agreements are finalized, the utility companies are allowed up to six months to "make ready" the poles, i.e., to temporarily move their lines on the poles safely out of the way so that the town's internet service provider, Axiom, can string our fiber on the existing poles using its construction partner, Hawkeye, and install new poles if needed.

One complication related to the agreements that has been resolved involved negotiating the amount of general liability insurance the town needed; with the help of the Maine PUC, the utilities agreed that the town already carries sufficient insurance through its ongoing membership in the Maine Municipal Association. 

Another complication is that the cost of the "make ready" work should not be borne by any municipal network like ours, per the enactment of a recent Maine law, but the phone company is resisting that requirement, and it is likely that we will go through another regulatory proceeding at the MPUC to force Consolidated to move forward. To be clear, the federal grant was designed to cover this cost on our behalf if necessary, so, if Consolidated refuses to pay for the make ready costs as the law requires, there will be no additional cost for the residents of Somerville and the project will still go ahead. 

We will keep the town updated in 2023 about the project's status via the town's website and we intend to provide everyone with a more specific timetable of when Somerville's broadband network might begin and complete construction, once we have a better estimate. The Maine Connectivity Authority, which is administering the federal grant on our behalf, is committed to supporting the town's internet project to completion and meets with us monthly to provide updates and additional support on behalf of the state of Maine.


When can I sign up for service?

Sometime in 2023, well before construction begins, the town will make sign-up information with Axiom, our internet service provider, widely available. We will make every effort to spread the word, to be sure everyone in town will know exactly how to sign up and what the deadline will be to qualify for free installation. Until we have more certainty about when construction will begin, we can't offer you a firmer date for when you can first indicate your interest to our internet provider.

Once it is time, residents who sign up directly with Axiom for service before construction of the project is complete will have the cost of a standard service drop (i.e., installation of the fiber line from the road into their house) paid for as part of our federal grant supporting the buildout of the town's network. That's why it is important you do sign up ahead of the project completion, so that service drops can be done in conjunction with Hawkeye stringing fiber along your road. 

Any deposit that may be required at the time you sign up to indicate your interest in having fiber run to your house will be under $100 and the deposit will be fully returned to you by Axiom once your monthly internet service begins through a bill credit. 

Please note that right now, Axiom is not yet ready to take Somerville residents' sign-up information, but once we are closer to the start of construction, sometime in the summer or fall of 2023, you will be able to call Axiom or use their electronic form to request installation and service. Anyone who lives in town at that point (in 2023) can sign up; you do not need to have been a resident when we first applied for the grant to be eligible to take service from the town's broadband network. 

I have more questions...

If you have questions that are not answered by the information posted on the town's website, please let us know and we'll try our best to help. You can email the Chairman of the broadband board at or leave word at the town office and someone will pass along your request to the Somerville broadband board to answer. We will provide further updates on the town website as the project progresses.

Once construction is complete, Somerville residents will be able to choose from the following available service speeds in the first year:

$49.99/month for download/upload speeds of 50/50 Mbps

$64.99/month for 100/100 Mbps

$109.99/month for 250/250 Mbps

$129.99/month for 500/500 Mbps

$169.99/month for 1Gbps/1Gbps

Residents whose household income is less than 200% of the federal poverty line can apply through Axiom for a federal monthly subsidy of $30/month to help offset the cost of broadband internet. Seasonal rates with a pro-rata flat annual fee will be offered to owners of seasonal homes.