In support of internet for all

1 year ago

To the editor:

Too many communities like mine still have pockets without any access to broadband infrastructure. Thankfully, we have an incredible opportunity to finally make sure every Mainer has access to broadband thanks to significant federal investments and the leadership of Governor [Janet] Mills, who has made universal access and digital equity in Maine a priority.

While there are a wide range of proposals that advocates are floating for how to capitalize on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to close the digital divide, true digital equity in Maine will mean prioritizing bringing broadband infrastructure to communities that currently lack it. Communities without access to broadband are by and large rural. Because Aroostook County is sparsely populated, it is more expensive to bring infrastructure to these areas and providers get a lower return on their investment than in urban areas, making them some of the last places to receive access to broadband. Utilizing this funding to reach rural, unconnected communities is critical.

Still, some activists are calling for the funds to go towards building new networks that operate with faster upload speeds in wealthier, populous communities in southern and coastal Maine.  There’s nothing equitable about upgrading another town’s networks before some communities can get online. Access to broadband is too important in this day and age to continue to leave rural areas like Aroostook County behind.

Shelly Mountain