Voters in Camden, Rockport and Thomaston have the opportunity on June 8 to get the ball rolling for high-speed broadband service for their towns, with universal access and fiber to the premises for all homes and businesses, and local legislators are in full support.

“While close to a dozen towns are part of Midcoast Internet Coalition, this first vote by these three towns is part of a phased approach to establish the interlocal agreement to develop a regional utility under Maine law,” said Representative Vicki Doudera, D-Camden. “Voters should know that the Select Boards of all three towns have unanimously approved proceeding with these warrant articles. Why? Because this is an exciting opportunity for residents to have local customer service and low user costs, with a network built without a local tax increase.”

Doudera said that the network will use fiber optics — glass strands as thin as a human hair — to carry pulses of light to transfer information at the speed of light. “I am thrilled that the service will be open access, with affordable fees to consumers,” she said.

“Consumer-owned, ultra-high-speed fiber utilities such as those envisioned by the Midcoast Internet Coalition offer Maine the chance to attract and retain the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, and House Chair of the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. “We should not only celebrate, but actively support their trailblazing efforts.”

Rep. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville, also serves on the Legislature’s Energy Committee. “What the Midcoast Internet Coalition is trying to do is bring high speed to our residents at an affordable price. This has been done in other areas and has been proven to be very successful.”

District 94: Camden, Islesboro and Rockport Midcoast Internet Coalition’s network will replace old-fashioned, out-of-date copper coaxial cable, and is a future-proof system to last multiple generations. It is the fastest and most reliable communication and data transfer technology, is easily upgradeable, and will connect to the statewide Three Ring Binder fiber optic network, which connects to the global internet.

“The midcoast area has a one-time opportunity, using a combination of federal, state, and local money to create a publicly owned broadband service for our residents,” said Rep. Valli Geiger, D-Rockland. “Our future depends on the ability to work remotely to compete to bring new and desperately needed residents to our communities, and this network will help us get there.”

“I was very pleased to hear that Midcoast communities had joined together to provide their residents with affordable, dependable broadband,” said Rep. Ann Matlack, D-St. George, who represents the town of Thomaston. “Living as we do in a rural area where internet connections are inconsistent and sometimes unavailable, efforts by the Midcoast Internet Coalition to find the resources to provide broadband connections to all who want it, is commendable. What is not commendable are recent ads and articles that provide misinformation and distortions in an effort to undermine this grassroots effort. I encourage residents of Thomaston, Rockport and Camden to reach out to their local select boards to find out how this program will benefit local residents and to vote on June 8 to approve this agreement.”

Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Knox, represents all the communities who will be voting on the June 8 warrant. “We have a chance to give our residents the service they need….and deserve,” he said. “We have been cheated for too long by the for-profit companies that under-deliver and overcharge.”