On July 14, Mainers will have the chance to vote on an important bond issue. Question 1 asks if we are willing to support a $15 million bond that would expand high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved parts of the state.

As small business owners, we believe it is critical that all Mainers have access to a reliable internet connection no matter where they live. We leased a brick and mortar store at our local mall and often blamed ourselves for the routine crashes and shortcomings of the computer and PayPal equipment. We could hardly process online sales, and couldn’t update the website from the store, but technicians repeatedly told us to update for faster internet.

One day, we decided to bring our business’ equipment home — a mile away from the business location — and everything worked just fine. There was no problem with the computer or equipment; instead, just that one mile made a drastic difference in bandwidth. This highlights for us the importance of closing the many gaps in reliable internet connection across Maine.

We compare our experiences trying to run our business with a poor internet connection to those of children trying to complete school work from home. Trying to get work done as a business owner or as a student can be incredibly discouraging without reliable internet.

We strongly support the expansion of internet access in Maine as small business owners and we encourage Mainers to vote yes on Question 1 on July 14.

Vilene and John Farina, Lewiston

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