Tilson Broadband Environmental Assessment

Project Name: Three Ring Binder Project

Summary: Environmental assessment for broadband expansion

Client: Maine Fiber Company

Project Location: Statewide - Maine

Project Size: 1,100 linear miles

Services Provided:
•  Environmental Assessment under
    National Environmental Policy Act
•  Environmental Permitting
•  Rare, Threatened, Endangered
    Species Assessment
•  GIS Database Design and
•  Impacts / Alternatives Analysis
•  Agency Consultation
•  Stakeholder Facilitation

Project Timeframe:
2009 - Present

Relationship with Client: Since 2008

Client Needs:
In 2010, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded grants to various entities to encourage and support broadband infrastructure expansion for public benefit. As part of their “Three Ring Binder” project, Maine Fiber Company (MFC) was required to perform an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Kleinschmidt prepared an EA that was accepted by the NTIA in support of a federal award to expand affordable high-speed internet access to rural and underserved areas in Maine and assisted with state (Maine Historic Preservation Commission) and federal (US Fish & Wildlife Service) consultation for historic and cultural resources, and federally endangered species. The EA addressed potential effects of over 1,100 miles of infrastructure transecting the entire state of Maine on natural (including rare, threatened and endangered species, wetlands, wildlife, fisheries and aquatic resources), socioeconomic and cultural resources. Kleinschmidt provided agency consultation and a multidisciplinary approach to the analysis that required engineers, scientists, GIS specialists and planners to collaborate closely and efficiently. As part of the NEPA process, Kleinschmidt framed the alternatives analysis and helped show that the preferred alternative was the least impactful alternative that also accomplished project goals.
Client Benefits:
The Assessment was completed on an accelerated schedule and achieved a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from NTIA. Public benefits include the delivery of 100 Mbits+ broadband connectivity to businesses, households, and community anchor institutions facilitating rural economic development, job stimulation, education and health care throughout the state of Maine.