Maine lawmakers could follow NY, push rural internet upgrades across state
January 2, 2019 | 11:51 am CST
MAINE - A new democratic state senate president says Maine will work to focus on internet expansions in rural areas.
Troy Jackson, who says he has talked with other state lawmakers, told WAB5 News that Maine will work to expand broadband services in all regions of the state.
He told WAB5:
"We are so rural - I mean I leave Augusta and come up the road and half the time I can't get any cell service and it's the same way for internet for a lot of people. You know my in-laws have Allagash Wood Products right in the Allagash and sell things all over the country because we have decent broadband but a lot of people can't say that."
Earlier last year, New York implemented a program to increase broadband access for rural areas, and a small woodshop was finally able to access the internet. Whitesville Wood Products manufacturers lumber primarily for Asian markets, sending over 80 percent of its products overseas. The company says having access to high-speed internet is crucial for communicating with its buyers.
“This is absolutely huge,” said Whitesville Wood Products manager William Meunier. “That’s how we correspond with the Chinese. Because of the time difference, phone calls are almost impossible. The internet makes it simple. Every month probably 25 containers of lumber go to China.”
New York's program had $500 million in funding. We will see what Maine will come up with.
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