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Rep. Dunphy backs bill to expand broadband access

Greater Internet access would benefit Maine’s small businesses

March 23, 2015

AUGUSTA – Rep. Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, is supporting a bill to expand broadband access in rural Maine.

Many Maine farmers and businesses in rural areas struggle to complete all the necessary work required for their business because they do not have access to high-speed Internet. The proposed legislation would expand access to high-speed Internet access throughout rural Maine.

“High-speed Internet access is becoming more and more important to small businesses,” said Dunphy. “A fast, reliable connection is incredibly important to building successful businesses and communicating with customers and suppliers, especially in more rural areas.”

Currently, 97 percent of American consumers search online for goods and services but 59 percent of Maine’s small businesses don’t have a website, according to Scott Levitan, director of marketing at Google.

The bill, which is being sponsored by Rep. Bob Saucier, D-Presque Isle, would increase ConnectME’s funding. The ConnectME Authority is a unit of Maine state government whose mission is facilitating universal availability of broadband to all Mainers and helping them understand the valuable role it can play in enriching their lives and helping their communities and businesses thrive.

“We have work to do when it comes to ensuring all Mainers have access to broadband,” said Dunphy. “Roughly 80 percent of Maine households are underserved, either because they have no Internet access or rely on slow, outdated connections.”

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing before the Energy, Utilies and Technology Committee on April 2 at 1 p.m.

Dunphy is serving her first term in the Maine House and represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island. She is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Dunphy, Saucier], cell: 233-1838