To The Editor:

I serve on the Mahoosuc Area Broadband Committee.

We believe that fast, flexible, affordable, and reliable internet speed is critical for all of our residents and for current and future businesses.

Broadband (High-Speed Internet) is the critical new physical infrastructure, much as electricity was when it was widely installed in rural America in the 1930’s.

Here are some facts about the benefits of high-speed internet that I learned from a recent presentation by Michael Curri of the Strategic Networks Group:

Remote working and telecommuting/Improving life-work balance:

•  51% of households access the workplace from home – 24% telework one or more days a week

•  86% of teleworking households earn more than $50,000 per year.

Remote learning/enhancing education and skills:

•  87.6% of households surveyed say internet connectivity is extremely or very important for school success

•  84% of households with children use broadband for educational activities.

Telehealth/health services at home:

•  12% of households use telehealth services, and another 52% are willing to use telehealth when needed.

•  60% of rural households value telehealth to reduce costs, for speed of response, and quality of health services.

Our Mahoosuc area towns were recently included in a free pilot program by VETRO Fiber to digitally map real internet speeds at homes sacross the region. This will help us document current internet speeds across our communities and tangibly support our efforts to get universal high speed internet to all residents in the Mahoosuc area.

We need everyone to test their current internet speed at this link: https://www.mainebroadbandcoalition.org/speedtesting-link. And, while you’re at it, please complete the Maine West Community Broadband Survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N7HG2DM

This information is critical for us to understand community interests and identify where there is good internet service and where there is poor or no service.

Marcel Polak
Woodstock

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