Broadband: If you build it, they will come

Apr 15, 2021

Broadband and fiber represent some of the best infrastructure to invest in for our area.

Even before the pandemic, we were seeing an influx of young professionals, people in their 30s and 40s, working from home using the internet. As a result of the global crisis, we have seen a surge in people buying homes in the Midcoast and moving here while doing their work remotely.

These people bring much-needed new blood to the area. Their children will go to our schools; they will contribute new revenue to the property tax base; they will bring new ideas and innovation to our local business community.

This is a good thing for Knox County, Maine. We do not want to become simply a retirement community, or a place caught in time with residents sharing nostalgia for industries that have passed on.

However, slow internet speeds, behind-the-times technology, and dead spots endanger this positive forward progress.

The work of the Midcoast Internet Coalition in bringing municipalities together in this effort has been very important and valuable. In addition, this coalition does not represent corporate interests of existing for-profit companies. Instead, it offers a plan to bring in a new fiber superhighway that would serve as public utility, owned by the people of Midcoast, Maine.

This highway would then be leased and used by more than one of those for-profit companies, and since they would be forced to compete for customers, costs to local users should go down.

The coalition has been working with community leaders all over Knox County. The coalition has now been joined by Northport, Lincolnville, Hope, Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston and South Thomaston. It has also been in talks with Owls Head, Cushing, Union, Searsmont and Washington.

These are public servants looking out for the best interests of the people and businesses of Knox County, not looking to put profits in the hands of shareholders.

Federal money is becoming available to communities for infrastructure improvements, and this is a great place to invest those dollars.

Bringing in fiber and high-speed internet is not a mere luxury. This is comparable to a time when they began bringing electricity to rural America and when they first started putting in the phone lines. These technology advances leveled the playing field for locals with the rest of the nation.

Not only will this benefit those working from home, but those building local businesses, students studying online and, yes, those of us who need to Netflix and chill after a busy day or workweek.

Check out midcoastinternet.com to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

And tell your city and town leaders you want to see improved service and have your municipality participate in the coalition.

April 15, a momentous day in history

According to History.com, many major events, most of them tragic, took place on April 15. Here they are in brief:

1865: “At 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from a bullet wound inflicted the night before by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer. The president’s death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War.”

“At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.” More than 1,500 died.

“On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years.” His number, 42, was retired in 1997.

“On April 15, 2013, two bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 other people... Four days later, ...police captured one of the bombing suspects, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; his older brother and fellow suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with law enforcement...”

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