News

Maine Broadband Expansion Could Add 11,000 Jobs, $500 Million in Income

December 18, 2013

For Immediate Release
Dec. 17, 2013

Contact:

David W. Maxwell, Program Director, ConnectME Authority, David.W.Maxwell@maine.gov, 207-624-9793

A report released today by a Maine task force shows significant potential economic impact from further expansion of, and increased access to, high-speed Internet throughout the state.

The report, "Broadband - The Road to Maine's Future," by the Governor's Broadband Capacity Building Task Force outlines eight recommendations for the improved utilization, integration and growth of broadband Internet in Maine. The recommendations focus on business, state and local government, education and health care sectors.

According to analysis by Portland-based planning and research firm Planning Decisions, Inc., full implementation of the task force's recommendations could add more than 11,000 jobs, paying nearly $500 million in new income and generating more than $70 million in new state and local tax revenues over the next 10 years.

Recommendations range from providing a three-year tax credit for Internet-related staff training and marketing expenditures to help Maine small and medium-sized businesses move online, to changing MaineCare program incentives to grow the proportion of elderly receiving home care in Maine from 35 percent today to 80 percent in 2020. The second tactic is estimated to save Maine taxpayers more than $100 million in 2015 and more than $250 million annually in 2020.

The task force also recommends reducing state and local government administrative spending by expanding the use of InforME, the public-private state Internet gateway, to shift more functions online. It calls for 25 percent of all University of Maine system classes to be offered online by 2015. The report also recommends that the Maine Turnpike become a model "smart" road by installing fiber optic cable along its entire length. See the full Task Force report and recommendations online.

Task Force Chair Warren Cook said, "The Internet is a vital connection to the world economy. It is every bit as important for Maine as roads, piers and airports. It provides our state with the opportunity to overcome longstanding problems of isolation and distance from markets that have plagued our economy for centuries. But there's more than opportunity here. There is also danger. Other states, other nations, are racing ahead to develop broadband communication. If we fall behind in installing and using broadband technology, we will remain isolated and distant from markets relative to our competitors for another century."

The Governor's Broadband Capacity Building Task Force was established to manage the creation of a Broadband Capacity Building Plan and is funded by the State Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). It is staffed by the ConnectME Authority, 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.

Maine Broadband Capacity Building Task Force members include: - Warren Cook, Chair, Co-founder of Maine Network Partners

  • Devore Culver, Executive Director and CEO of HealthInfoNet

  • Lisa Smith, Senior Planner, Governor's Energy Office

  • Allyson Handley, President, University of Maine at Augusta

  • George Hogan, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Wright Express

  • Christopher Jerome, Executive Vice President, Global Services, Unum

  • Peter Mills, Executive Director, Maine Turnpike Authority

  • Bob Montgomery-Rice, Executive Vice President, Bangor Savings Bank

  • Ryan Pelletier, Director of Economic and Workforce Development, Northern Maine Development Commission

Learn more about current broadband technology and access in Maine online at http://www.maine.gov/connectme.

Editor's Notes:

Access the full Broadband Task Force report here.

Access the eight-page Executive Summary of the report here.

Access the four-page Summary Report here.

Access an infographic of the report here.