Going it alone is no benefit

1 year ago

To the editor:

 Few things matter more to Caribou than connecting all our friends and families to high-speed broadband internet. Almost 300 homes don’t have access to this essential service, leaving them at a terrible risk of falling behind — economically, educationally, you name it.

The City Council has a duty to help them, and as it weighs its options, I hope it makes the right choice.

 I couldn’t agree more with Bethany Zell that the City Council should take the proven path. (“Poor internet hurts us all,” Oct. 5, 2022.) That means hiring a private company with a track record of connecting homes to high-speed broadband. By contrast, the unproven path involves spending millions of taxpayer dollars to build a network that’s owned by the Caribou Public Utilities. Yet this quasi-municipal organization has no experience in this advanced industry.

Why would Caribou try to go it alone when it could partner with a company like Spectrum? As a 15-year resident of the city, and as a 20-year employee of Spectrum, I see every day how we provide our Caribou customers with the highest level of service. It helps that Spectrum has spent nearly $70 million investing in Maine’s infrastructure. And 30 percent of our expansion last year was in rural areas, so we know what we’re doing in areas like ours.

 That’s the kind of expertise that Caribou should use to its advantage, instead of trying to start from scratch. By hiring a private company to expand high-speed broadband quickly, our city will save untold money and time. Most importantly, we’ll connect our friends, families, and neighbors to broadband internet that much faster, giving them a better chance to get ahead in life.

 This isn’t just an easy choice. It’s not really a choice at all, because the right path is so obvious.

 Don Skidgel