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August 13, 2014

Rockport, Maine to Construct Ultra-fast Municipal Broadband Network



By Casey Houser
Contributing Writer



The growing need for broadband connectivity is an issue that shows up almost every day in tech news. Private entities are popping up around the country that want to serve cities with dark fiber lines that promise ultra-fast speeds and increased economic development as a result. One town in Maine has taken note of the trend, and it is working with a local Internet provider and educational resource provider to construct a municipally-owned network -- the first in the state.

Maine Public Broadcasting reports that the town of Rockport has been working with Network Maine and Internet service provider GWI to construct an $80,000 fiber network that will connect to approximately 70 users in downtown Rockport.

The project was initially thought of when town officials were consider fiber lines that were already constructed in western, northern, and Downeast Maine. Money from the 2009 federal stimulus package helped these projects get off the ground, and town officials saw the progress towns across the U.S. could make with their own super-fast networks.

Rockport Town Manager Rick Bates commented to Maine Public Broadcasting about the picturesque nature of the town and the contrast that beautiful view has with its capability as a place where people can live year round and businesses can compete.

"This is, admittedly, a small system. But it's a huge step forward," Bates said.

After noting the beauty of the town, he continued, "With inferior broadband, the sharpest and most innovative entrepreneurs in the world will certainly vacation here, but they couldn't live here and they couldn't start a business here."

He said the system will operate at speeds near what Google (News - Alert) Fiber promises towns across the U.S. that have signed up for its service. It can reach 1 Gbps which is a giant leap forward compared to what many people already received from traditional telecoms. King said the network will be able to provide access to files for students and businesses faster than they have ever had it in the area. He also hopes the town can secure grants to expand the municipal broadband service to areas along Route 1 and Route 90.




Edited by Adam Brandt
 
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