More Rural Maine Homes And Businesses Will Soon Have Broadband

Jan 30, 2020

Some 4500 rural homes and 215 businesses will soon have internet connections as part of a pilot USDA Rural Development project.

A.J. Bowen of Schupp's Line Construction, Inc. works on fiber-optic installation in Norton, Vt. in Oct. 2007.
Credit Toby Talbot / AP File

Four projects based in Arrowsic, Monhegan and Roque Bluffs, plus nine more communities in western and southern Maine through a Biddeford-based project, will share in almost $10 million from the USDA ReConnect Program.

One business owner who says he's happy with the news is Carlos Barrionuevo of Georgetown, who moved to the area five years ago from a major city. He says he realized then that Maine had an "amazing quality of life" but "what I did not realize was that Georgetown had only got rid of dial up a couple of years previous to me moving in."

Barrionuevo says the dearth of broadband has remained a problem for businesses, but it is also an obstacle for summer residents who could extend their residency beyond the summer.

"And part of the reason they don't stay longer is that they don't have the connectivity that allows them to feel comfortable moving their job up here for a certain amount of time."

The largest chunk of funding, about $7 million in grants and loans, will go to the Biddeford Internet Corporation to provide fiber to nine communities across southern and western Maine, including South and West Paris, Turner and Hebron.