Toby Talbot / AP File

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

Toby Talbot / Associated Press/file

Legislation that would appropriate $15 million to the ConnectME Authority for broadband expansion across the state drew broad support Tuesday at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

Maine 2nd District Congressman Jared Golden will hold a field hearing in Machias Friday afternoon on the topic of helping rural communities get access to broadband service.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has introduced legislation that would provide $5 billion in matching grants to expand broadband access in rural areas of the country.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Maine Gov. Janet Mills' administration is embarking on an effort to develop a far-reaching, ten-year economic plan for the state.

Author Susan Crawford's new book describes how fiber optic connections will enable us to send unlimited amounts of data, leading to radical advances in what we can do in health care, education, agriculture and daily communications.

She explains how giant corporations in the United States have held back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward, and she describes how a few cities and towns are fighting to bring the fiber optic revolution to their communities.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Governor-elect Janet Mills joined members of the business community and Portland city officials Thursday to celebrate the launch of high-speed internet to 650,000 homes and businesses around the state, including parts of rural Maine.

Maine ranks 24 in the nation for high-speed internet access, but it is dead last in New England. New census data indicate that that rate varies widely among the state's counties.

We’ll hear from experts and entrepreneurs about ways to bring high-speed internet to all of Maine. This is in advance of the statewide 2018 Maine Broadband Coalition Conference, in which Maine communities and national experts will share lessons learned to date, look at new ways for solving shared challenges, and identify what’s next for broadband funding and policy in Maine.

Maine's U.S. senators are joining 61 of their colleagues in a call for the Federal Communications Commission to advance broadband services in rural America.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King are joining other senators in sending a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The senators say improving accessibility of broadband is necessary to make sure rural residents have “access to high quality voice and broadband services.”

The senators say they support a recent order that addressed budget shortfalls in the Universal Service Fund's high-cost program.

Rural Economic Development

Oct 19, 2017

Broadcasting from Houlton High School:

What factors lead to the health or decline of rural towns in Maine? We learn about efforts to boost rural economies through education, greater access to services—from health care to broadband—and through smart use of the natural resources and assets that these communities already have.

Guests: Kristen Wells, former executive director, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith speaks in Washington, Tuesday, July 11, 2017, about Microsoft's project to bring broadband internet access to rural parts of the U.S.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The Microsoft Corporation is launching a new effort to improve internet access to rural households, and Maine will benefit with a pilot project that taps into unused television frequencies, known as white space, to beam internet service to those last-mile areas. Mark Oulette, president of Machias-based Axiom, says the work will build on his company’s recent effort to get that kind of service to some 40 households on the Passamaquoddy reservation at Indian Township.

He says some 20,000 rural Maine households lack internet service.

CAMDEN, Maine - A Camden-based internet service provider wants to fast-track development of broadband wireless networks in rural Maine in exchange for a five-year service commitment.

Expansion of broadband has been a hot topic in rural parts of Maine, where leaders say it is needed to grow business and access to education.

Now, Redzone Wireless says it has committed $1 million for a funding program for rural municipalities to increase high-speed internet. It calls the program "Fast for 5.''

Tom Porter / MPBN

SANFORD, Maine — Local business and municipal leaders are welcoming plans to build a major broadband network in this southern Maine city.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The ConnectMe Authority, the group charged with improving access in Maine to broadband services, is holding a series of public hearings this month on what it should include in its new three-year plan.

"We really want to hear how people are affected by not having access to broadband - you know, their ability, perhaps, to communicate with family and friends, not being able to work from home," says ConnectMe Authority Chair Jean Wilson.