Eight Appointed to Maine Broadband Task Force

November 2, 2011

The Maine State Planning Office announced the appointment of eight new business, education, health, and government leaders to its Broadband Capacity Building Task Force. The Task Force’s job is to recommend regulatory, investment, and best practice strategies for expanding the availability and use of high-speed internet in rural Maine.

The eight new members whose appointments were announced today are:

• Edwina Ducker, Rural Health Manager for the Maine Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, an expert on health information technology;

• Kenneth Fletcher, Director, Maine Office of Energy Independence and Security, whose background includes expertise in the paper and pulp industry;

• Allyson Handley, President, University of Maine at Augusta, who leads distance learning activities for the University of Maine System;

• George Hogan, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Wright Express, a person with an understanding of the broadband capacity needs for a global business headquartered in Maine;

• Christopher Jerome, Senior Vice President of Risk Operations, Unum, who oversees claims management activities for all of Unum’s domestic operations;

• Peter Mills, Executive Director, Maine Turnpike Authority, who has expertise in Maine’s finances and government;

• Bob Montgomery-Rice, Executive Vice President, Bangor Savings Bank, a person with knowledge of the way broadband is changing the finance business; and

• Ryan Pelletier, Director of Workforce Development, Northern Maine Development Commission, who works in the nexus between technical education and economic development in rural Maine.

The Broadband Capacity Building Task Force will examine current practices in the fields of health care, education, and economic development; identify obstacles to greater use; and recommend policies for change.

Governor Paul LePage endorsed the appointments and the Task Force effort, saying “The expansion of broadband capacity in the state will help accomplish one of our major initiatives, which is workforce attraction and economic development for Maine.” The Commissioners of the departments of Economic and Community Development and Education, as well as the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, have all endorsed the effort.

The Task Force is staffed by the Maine State Planning Office. It operates with funding support from the ConnectME Authority, recipient of a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Authority (NTIA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ConnectME Authority is a Maine government component unit established by the State of Maine legislature in 2006 to facilitate universal availability of broadband service and increase the adoption and use of that service among Maine individuals, businesses, and public organizations.

Questions can be addressed to: Amanda Rector, Maine State Planning Office 207-624-6206