Bringing internet infrastructure to the unserved and underserved

For the editor:

With federal and state funding of up to $500 million, and the work my colleagues and I have done in Augusta to advance high-speed internet access for rural Mainers, we have a monumental opportunity to close the divide. digital once and for all. Our leaders must prioritize solutions that bring broadband connectivity to communities that still lack it and avoid proposals that will waste the limited funds we have or do little to address the factors driving the our state’s internet divide.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 97% of Maine has high-speed Internet access. The remaining households are disproportionately in very rural areas that have no access to any broadband infrastructure, largely because it is expensive and time-consuming to build. Historically, Internet service providers have been reluctant to invest in high-speed Internet infrastructure in these communities because the return on investment is so low, leaving rural people behind. That is why it is essential that we focus our efforts on building infrastructure in the communities that lack it.

Some leaders have argued for upgrading existing networks or even building [duplicate] networks in communities that already have broadband access in hopes of stimulating competition. Rural Mainers would once again be left behind. Governor Mills has declared her commitment to securing high-speed internet access for every Mainer who wants it by 2024, ensuring that funding for broadband prioritizes bringing internet infrastructure to people unserved and underserved areas of our state is a great way to do this.

Representative Scott Landry

Farmington

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