Fed up with poor internet, rural Maine towns team up to tackle problem

Tired of dealing with poor internet connectivity, town officials and residents in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties formed their own coalition to bring broadband to their regions. Now they need to find money and a provider.

Four towns — Corinna, Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter and Garland — have already signed on to the Maine Highlands Broadband Coalition. People from Abbot, Bowerbank, Brownville and Monson attended a meeting earlier this week and could decide to join later.

Rural communities in Maine have grappled with spotty internet access, but there’s been little momentum to craft solutions. With more people working remotely and needing access for school and telehealth, lack of broadband service means people aren’t getting the services they need. The coalition aims to bring affordable and reliable internet to all citizens and businesses in the area, said Chris Maas, a Dover-Foxcroft resident leading the effort.

“There are people in our region who don’t have electricity,” he said. “They want to live off the grid, and they’re happy. If they don’t want to have broadband, they don’t have to have it. But if they want it, it ought to be there for them.”


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