News

ConnectME Authority grant helps expand internet access

August 26, 2013

WCSH Newscenter 6 Reports:

For some of us the thought of not having internet access would be unbearable. But that's a reality for some rural areas in the state of Maine. One state program is doing its part to see that everyone in the Pine Street state has acess to high speed internet.

While wandering some of the side roads in the town of Blue Hill, you probably won't detect any type of wifi internet access.

"If you look on a map you can see that premium choice delivers its service to the whole area but because of the terrain we have, pockets of the town that are unserved," said Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz.

But that's about to change. Thanks to a $226,000 grant from ConnectME Authority, the town of Blue Hill will be teaming up with Time Warner Cable to bring more than 100 households and businessess broadband internet access.

"A lot of people come to the area whether it's to establish a business or to retire they're relying on this connectivity," said Schatz.

"One of our goals with the ConnectME Authority is to connect broadband access to all citizens in the state of Maine. Right now we have 49,000 households which have no access to broadband," said ConnectME Program Director Dave Maxwell.

"To us it means the state is recognizing the difficulty that rural areas have in getting connected," said Schatz.

The expanding service will help local businesses like J.F. Bergin Construction, that previously operated off an inadequate dial up connection.

"It's going to help us in so many ways in terms of our business, communications. This will be much faster and much more reliable," said Jim Bergin.

Selectman Jim Schatz says this expansion will also benefit students. "If you're trying to have your child compete in school and do things that are expected in other school areas it makes it rough on rural students," said Schatz.

"We're entitled to have the same access to the world wide web as anyone else even though we are down a lonely road here," said Bergin.

Reprinted from WCSH Newscenter 6 website. Video clip is available on the WCSH site.

Details about ConnectME's Broadband Grant Program

To contact David Maxwell directly: David.W.Maxwell@maine.gov