Opinion

Vote for a smart investment in Maine

To the editor:

I see Question 1 as an opportunity to make a smart investment in the people and economy of Maine. As a front-line technical support adviser, I assist people to work, teach, study and stay connected with loved ones from home.

During the pandemic, the urgency of this need has become even more clear. Ironically, as I work to support others, my own job is threatened by poor internet service in Patten.

For nearly 13 years my daily commute was over three hours. When you tally up the time traveling in every imaginable kind of northern Maine weather coupled with close encounters with wildlife and fellow travelers, it works out to over 30 days and 50,000-plus miles per year — time not spent with loved ones, not reading a good book and time just living, lost forever. 

Three years ago, I was extremely fortunate to be offered a job with a global company to work from a home office. My commute became a 30-second walk. This should have been a very happy ending, but was just the beginning of an ongoing struggle fraught with anxiety and threats to my employment.

In Patten, broadband is available but on a limited basis, and not on my road. The DSL service we subscribe to just barely meets the speed threshold that my employer requires and is notorious for going down, often for several days at a time. When service is out, I cannot work, making me an unreliable employee. In desperation, we subscribed to a satellite-based service as a backup if the DSL line was down. This doubled our internet service monthly bill, but we thought was worth it to save my job. Sadly, this did not work, as the promised speed was not realized. Ultimately, if I cannot be more reliable it will end my career.

A Yes vote on Question 1 in July would help remove barriers to over 83,000 Maine households who do not have access to high-speed internet. The creative, hardworking people of our state deserve and need access to this necessary service to grow and thrive.

Corky Pinette
Patten

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