Internet

Internet Speeds Explained

Most modern Internet services are measured in megabits per second or Mbps. A 1 Mbps connection provides speeds of 1 million bits per second, or roughly 100 pages of plain text per second. Typically, broadband services advertise both download and upload speeds. Download speeds refer to the speed at which you can obtain information from the network (such as by downloading a song), and upload speeds describe the speed at which you can send information back out (such as by sending an email with an attachment). In Maine, the download speeds for residential broadband services range from 768 kbps to 15 mbps . In practical terms, download speed affects how long it takes for a web page to load or to download pictures, or the quality of streaming video. For example, Netflix recommends a broadband connection of at least 1.5 Mbps to stream movies online, at least 3 Mbps to stream DVD quality video, and at least 5 Mbps for HD quality video.

Ratewatcher

For more information on telecom services in Maine download the 2016 Ratewatcher Guide (PDF, 691kb).
2015 Ratewatcher (PDF, 709kb)
2013 Ratewatcher (PDF, 875kb)

 

Broadband Internet Service Providers

DSL - Cable - Fiber - Satellite - Wireless

 

DSL

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), which is delivered using the existing copper telephone network, is the most widely available internet access technology in Maine today. Download speeds range from 1.5 Mbps to 25 Mbps. Internet access through a DSL connection rarely comes with a data cap, allowing you to stream videos or browse the internet without worrying about overage charges. However, the speed of your connection is dependent on how far you live from the nearest terminal on the telephone company’s network. To find out the speed offered at your specific address, you will need to call the provider and ask them for the upload and download speeds available at your home.

Company Counties within which service is provided Basic Speed Offering (Download/Upload) Monthly Price Other speeds available for this service Contract length Installation Fee Equipment Fee Cancellation Fee
Axiom Technologies Washington 5Mbps/1Mbps $39.99 Up to 100Mbps n/a $99 $5/mo. n/a
Chebeague.net, LLC Cumberland 7Mbps/1Mbps $39.99 Up to 30Mbps n/a $99 $5/mo. n/a
FairPoint All 16 Counties Up to 15Mbps/1Mbps $50.99 Up to 50Mbps/20Mbps 1 year or monthly is available $99 $5.99/mo. Purchase options available rather than lease $79
FairPoint Classic Aroostook, Cumberland, Oxford, Piscataquis, Washington Up to 15Mbps/1Mbps $60.95 50Mbps/20 Mbps Month to Month $49.95 $59.95 n/a
GWI All 16 Counties Up to 7Mbps $46.95 Up to 20Mbps n/a $50 $1 $0
Lincolnville Networks Knox, Lincoln, Waldo 768Kbps/768Kbps $38 Up to 10Mbps/2Mbps n/a $0 $47 n/a
"MaineStream Internet (formerly Cornerstone)" Penobscot, Piscataquis 3Mbps/768Kbps $47.95 10Mbps/1Mbps, 20Mbps/1.5Mbps n/a $70 $35 waived with 1 year contract $0
North Country Broadband Piscataquis 1.5 Mbps/384Kbps $44.95 Up to 8 Mbps/768 kbps 12 mos. $100 $0 $250
OTT Communications Cumberland, Hancock, Penobscot, York 4 Mbps/1Mbps $38.45 Up to 40 Mbps n/a $65 $10 n/a
Oxford Networks Androscoggin, Oxford 5Mbps/1Mbps $39.95 Up to 24Mbps n/a $0 $0 $0
Premium Choice Broadband Hancock 1.5Mbps/384Kbps $39.95 Up to 5Mbps/768Kbps 1 or 2 year contracts available $49.95 with 2 year agreement or $149.95 with 1 year agreement $0 $199.95 with 2 year agreement or $99.95 with 1 year agreement
TDS Telecom Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Penebscot, Somerset 1Mbps/512Mbps $28.95 Up to 25Mbps 1Mbps/12 mos. $0 $4.95/mo. $99
Tidewater Telecom, Inc. Knox, Lincoln, Waldo 768Kbps/768Kbps $38 Up to 10Mbps/2Mbps n/a $0 $47 n/a
UniTel Kennebec, Penobscot , Waldo 4Mbps/1Mbps $19.99 Up to 10Mbps/10Mbps, Higher speeds available upon request n/a n/a n/a n/a

Cable

If you already have access to cable TV at your home, then you are likely able to receive internet from your cable provider as well. In general, cable provides faster download speeds than DSL. Download speeds with cable range from 3 Mbps to over 100 Mbps. Currently, most cable companies offer access to the internet without data caps. Comcast Xfinity does have a data cap, but increased that limit to 1000 gigabytes in June, a limit not often reached by casual internet users.

Company Counties within which service is provided Basic Speed Offering (Download/Upload) Monthly Price Other speeds available for this service Contract length Installation Fee Equipment Fee Cancellation Fee
Bee Line Cable Franklin, Penobscot, Somerset 1 Mbps/256Kbps $34.95 Up to 10Mbps/1 Mbps n/a n/a n/a n/a
Charter, formerly Time Warner Cable All 16 Counties 2Mbps/1Mbps $14.99 Up to 50Mbps/5Mbps n/a Free self install None if customer owned modem $0
Comcast Cumberland, Sagadahoc, York 10Mbps/2Mbps $49.95 Up to 2Gbps/2Gbps n/a $80 Voice/Data modem $10/mo. n/a
MetroCast Communications York 1.5Mbps/384Kbps $29.95 Up to 105Mbps/10Mbps n/a $100 $7 n/a
Premium Choice Broadband Piscataquis 1.5Mbps/512Kbps $29.95 Up to 5Mbps/1.5Mbps Month to Month $49.95 $0 $0

Fiber

For residential customers, fiber optic cable which uses light waves to transmit its signal provides internet access at the fastest speeds available in Maine reaching download speeds of up to 1 Gbps. Fiber is not available everywhere, but is growing every year.

Company Counties within which service is provided Basic Speed Offering (Download/Upload) Monthly Price Other speeds available for this service Contract length Installation Fee Equipment Fee Cancellation Fee
Axiom Technologies Washington 10Mbps/10Mbps $50 Up to 1Gbps varies varies varies varies
Bluestreak Parts of Waldo 15Mbps/15Mbps $69.95 Up to 100Mbps/100Mbps n/a $200 $10 n/a
FairPoint York 75Mbps/35Mbps $94.99 Up to 150Mbps/75Mbps 2 year, 1 year and monthly available $129.99 $8.99/mo. - purchase available also $149.99
GWI All but Androscoggin 100Mbps $69.95 none 1 year $300 minimum $0 remainder of year
Lincolnville Communicatons Knox, Lincoln, Waldo 10Mbps/10Mbps $68 1Gbps/1Gbps & beyond n/a $0 $0 n/a
Lincolnville Networks Knox, Lincoln, Waldo 10Mbps/10Mbps $68 1Gbps/1Gbps & beyond n/a $0 $0 n/a
MaineStream Internet (formerly Cornerstone) Penobscot, Piscataquis 10Mbps/10Mbps $54.95 Up to 50Mbps/50Mbps 1 year $149.95 Included in installation fee 80% of remaining contract term
North Country Broadband Piscataquis 5 Mbps/5 Mbps $44.95 Up to 15Mbps/15Mbps 12 mos. $199.95 $0 $250
OTT Communications Cumberland, Penobscot 50Mbps/50Mbps $49.99 Up to 150Mbps n/a $75 $10 n/a
TDS Telecom Penebscot 1Mbps/512Kbps $28.95 Up to 50Mbps 1Mbps/12 mos. $0 $4.95/mo. $99
Tidewater Telecom Knox, Lincoln, Waldo 10Mbps/10Mbps $68 1Gbps/1Gbps & beyond n/a $0 $0 n/a
Union River Portions of Hancock, Washington 5Mbps/1Mbps $44.95 Up to 30Mbps/25Mbps 6 mos. $0 $0 $25.00 if cancelled within the first 6 mos.
UniTel Kennebec Penobscot, Waldo 15Mbps/15Mbps $69.95 Up to 100Mbps/100Mbps n/a $200 $10.92 n/a

Satellite

Those living in places without DSL, cable or fiber internet options must rely on wireless technologies for internet access. The most well-known option is provided via satellite. Like satellite TV, customers need to install a dish at their home. Most plans include data caps that limit the amount of data you can use each month without incurring an overage charge. The signal can also fail if bad weather disrupts communication with the satellite. Satellite service provides internet download speeds from 2 Mbps to 15 Mbps.

Company Counties within which service is provided Basic Speed Offering (Download/Upload) Monthly Price Other speeds available for this service Contract length Installation Fee Equipment Fee Cancellation Fee
Excede All 16 Counties 12Mbps/3Mbps $49.99 n/a 24 mos. $0 $9.99/mo. no fee if equipment is returned
HughesNet All 16 Counties 5Mbps/1Mbps $29.99 Up to 15Mbps/2Mbps 24 mos. Up to $200 $9.99/mo. up to $400

Wireless

Wireless internet access is growing at a rapid pace across Maine. The wireless options listed on the Broadband Internet Service Provider chart are “fixed”: the technology is designed to reach your address and serve your needs at home. As with DSL, this technology is distance dependent. You home needs to be near a tower or relay point to access the internet with a reliable and fast connection. Wireless download speeds range from 1.5 Mbps to 25 Mbps.

Company Counties within which service is provided Basic Speed Offering (Download/Upload) Monthly Price Other speeds available for this service Contract length Installation Fee Equipment Fee Cancellation Fee
Aroostook Technologies Inc. Aroostook 2Mbps/1Mbps $39.95 5Mbps/2Mbps, 10Mbps/2Mbps 12 mos. $139 n/a Balance of Contract
Axiom Technologies Washington 3Mbps/1Mbps $39.99 Up to 20Mbps 12 mos. $99 n/a $250
Bluestreak Parts of Waldo 3Mbps/1Mbps $34.99 Up to 15Mbps/15Mbps n/a $99.95/fee varies n/a n/a
GWI Cumberland (towns limited), Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadohoc Up to 5Mbps $40 Up to 10Mbps n/a $100 $65 $0
North Countery Broadband Piscataquis 1.5Mbps/384Kbps $44.95 Up to 5Mbps/768Kbps 12 months $0 with 2 year agreement or $99.95 with 1 year agreement $0 $250
Premium Choice Broadband Hancock, Penebscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo 1.5Mbps/384Kbps $49.95 Up to 5Mbps/768Kbps 1 or 2 year contract $0 with 2 year agreement or $99.95 with 1 year agreement $0 $199.95 with 2 year agreement or $99.95 with 1 year agreement
Redzone Wireless Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Penobscot, Sagadahoc 20Mbps/2Mbps $39 Up to 200Mbps/200Mbps n/a $50 $0 $0

Updated - October 27, 2016