A lack of reliable, high-speed internet can have negative effects on a community in more ways than one. Not only does it deter new businesses and residents from moving there, but it limits the opportunities available to current residents as well. As we’ve mentioned here on our blog, broadband expansion into rural Maine communities opens the doors to new growth.
Recently the Portland Press Herald highlighted these new community initiatives. According to Peggy Schaffer of the Main Broadband Coalition, roughly 15 percent of Maine residents are lacking access to broadband services that meet the federal standard. This is defined by at least 25 megabits per second download and at least 3 MBPS upload. A majority of these people who don’t have access are living in rural communities.
The Downeast Broadband project has garnered quite a bit of attention thus far, as it paves the way for broadband and finds solutions to obtaining the right funding. Since the infrastructure will be community owned, funding will come from service providers who lease the network’s bandwidth.
Our own Julie Jordan is quoted in the article. She states, “One of the problems for rural communities is that it is difficult to convince private companies to upgrade their infrastructure when the area already has internet service, even though the existing service isn’t very good.”
Within the Calais and Baileyville areas and surrounding St. Croix Valley communities, the average download speed is about 3 Mbps. In response to the importance of taking a risk to invest in broadband internet infrastructure, Jordan states, “We’re rural, and we want to stay competitive and vibrant.”
We’re eager to see how this project unfolds, and paves the way for growth in rural communities across the country!
You can find the full Portland Press Herald article here.