Municipal Broadband to ensure accessibility

We hear about a lot of money headed toward Maine to improve broadband access. Clearly, good news for our state. But we need to be aware of options being considered in providing these services.

It is vitally important that broadband – recognized as critical infrastructure – remain as much as possible in the control of the community it needs to serve.

The Midcoast Internet Coalition has been working to make a fiber-optic network available as a municipal utility. This would mean that the townships would build and own the actual fiber-optic network, and that individual ISPs (Internet Service Providers) would bid for the option to use these networks to bring Internet to all residents and businesses who want to purchase a service for a reasonable cost.

Right now, in Thomaston where I live, Spectrum has been my only real, but very frustrating, broad band option. I heard talk of additional players interested in bringing service to the area. While competition is welcome, having another for-profit private player does not offer insurance for small town Maine communities to have the best and most affordable access in the long term.

Much is happening fast. It is hard for the public to know about these changes. I hope the recently formed Maine Connectivity Authority will be paying attention to a municipal option, and that our legislative representatives will support the local governments that are working to move in this direction.

Maine has so much to offer. Going forward in a way that will support all our communities — higher density towns and more rural locations — is hugely important for our future.

Jane Farthing

Thomaston

Gratitude to Collins

I would like to thank Sen. Susan Collins for her continued advocacy in Washington, on behalf of small towns across the country who are unfairly saddled with the cost and headache of having to store spent nuclear fuel.

Dealing with the waste of decommissioned nuclear sites is a growing problem for communities like Wiscasset. These towns need guidance and financial support of our federal government, as well as a clear plan of action.

Fortunately, Sen. Collins is on the case. She reintroduced the STRANDED Act, she is supportive of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, and she recently helped to secure $15 million in economic development funds for towns like Wiscassett that are impacted by nuclear power plant closures.

Our country needs a permanent solution to store spent nuclear fuel. Until then, I’m glad to have Sen. Collins advocating for towns like ours in Washington.

Hon. Dana Dow

Waldoboro