To the Editor:
A century ago, rural farmers had difficulty gaining access to phone lines, so they took the problem into their own hands and began constructing infrastructure to get phone access in rural areas. This effort became the foundation of OTELCO. Our commitment to supporting the infrastructure needs of rural Maine is just as strong as it was 100 years ago.
Now, though, phone lines are not the primary issue. Instead, broadband access is the crucial need for rural communities. We are building Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) in our rural footprints as quickly as possible. We are also working with three communities in Penobscot County to develop collaborative funding models to help them get the connectivity infrastructure they need. In Alton, collaboration between the Town, OTELCO, and the ConnectME Authority resulted in securing $700,000 for an FTTP project that will serve everyone in town.
On August 26th, Maine legislators will have the opportunity to vote for a bond package that includes $15 million for broadband infrastructure. That $15 million could become as much as $60 million with collaborations like that in Alton, allowing for the construction of thousands of miles of FTTP in unserved areas of Maine. FTTP construction and the resultant broadband access is critical to Maine’s economic future, affecting everything from workforce development to education to aging in place.
We urge all Maine legislators to vote to support the future of rural Maine by voting for the broadband bond.
Trevor Jones
VP of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service
OTELCO
New Gloucester

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