To the Editor:

One of the biggest challenges facing rural Maine is access to the Internet. Instead of putting Broadband on the state credit card with a bond and paying millions of tax dollars in interest payments – the state of Maine should look to private investment. Allowing an open Internet to flourish and the private sector to adapt and innovate will lead to solutions for rural Maine’s Broadband drought and it won’t cost the tax payers a dime.

The Internet is a necessity for everyday life in the 21st century. Mainers in rural and urban parts of the state both benefit from the new technology that expanded broadband access facilitates. This connective technology stimulates economic growth and new advancements in nearly every facet of our lives.

Innovation thrives on competition in a free market with private investment. Microsoft’s Airband Initiative with partner RTO Wireless is a solution born through such innovation and private investment. These two companies are using empty TV channels to bring broadband internet access to close to 300,000 people in western Maine and neighboring New York State. Using an empty ‘white space’ channel they are able to transmit a signal up to 6 miles. This is a game changer for rural economies.

Government could never create a solution like this. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority in Congress are working to impose stricter regulations on the Internet.  This heavy handed approach will slow down innovative solutions and will hurt rural Maine.

An open Internet is key to our state and nation’s success. Recently, Maine approved new rules for telemedicine that will be a huge benefit to the health of rural Mainers throughout the state. Maine can’t afford to let Washington DC and Speaker Pelosi use their power to take over the Internet. We need to put Maine first and stop the over-regulation of the Internet and allow the investment and innovation that will benefit our state.

Representative John Andrews

District 73

Buckfield, Hebron and Paris

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