Maine Fiber Company Announces Over $500,000 in Last Mile Incentives

  • ConnectME Authority
  • MFC Last Mile Now Incentive Program
  • Maine Fiber Company
PORTLAND, ME — Maine Fiber Company (MFC), owner and operator of the 1,200 mile Three Ring Binder fiber optic network, announced two major initiatives designed to spur true high-speed 10 Gbps symmetrical broadband (10/10) Internet growth in the most rural parts of Maine, including $500,000 in incentives and a rate reduction on over 60 percent of its Maine network starting January 1, 2016.

“From day one when the company was formed in 2010, Maine Fiber Company has believed a strong, open access fiber optic infrastructure was critical to creating economic opportunity across Maine,” said MFC CEO Dwight Allison. “We have worked hard to build a durable business based on the brand new idea of an open-access fiber provider. Today we are pleased to partner with the ConnectME Authority to offer two significant, voluntary incentives to help Maine businesses and consumers in some of the most rural parts of the state connect to world class Internet speeds.”

Two Incentive Programs

Allison and MFC Vice President Jeff McCarthy outlined the company’s two incentives. Through the MFC Last Mile Now Incentive Program, projects approved by the ConnectME Authority will be eligible for in excess of $500,000 in discounts and incentives, including no payments due during the critical first two years. When combined with the new MFC Rural Rate Discount, anyone needing middle-mile fiber to connect a last-mile broadband project in the most rural parts of Maine — on well over half of MFC’s Three Ring Binder route, will be eligible for savings totaling more than 50 percent over five years.

“Maine Fiber Company’s voluntary Last Mile Now Incentive and Rural Rate Discount are important steps forward for bringing true 10/10 high-speed broadband to businesses and customers in rural Maine,” said Phil Lindley, executive director of the ConnectME Authority, referring to the new 10 megabit per second upload and download speed that is now the standard for what constitutes true high-speed broadband in Maine. “These are well targeted incentives that will make it easier for individual last mile projects to be completed and easier for companies, municipalities and others to serve entire communities. That is good news for Maine.”

“Maine Fiber Company appreciates the input Phil Lindley and the ConnectME Authority and many others provided to help shape our Last Mile Now Incentive and Rural Rate Discount,” said Jeff McCarthy of MFC. “While it has taken some time to ensure MFC and the new open-access fiber provider model was durable, we are pleased to be in a position to partner with others across industry and policy circles to continue bringing true high-speed Internet and economic opportunity to all parts of Maine. With these incentives, we hope to begin changing the math for rural Maine.”

Maine Fiber Company’s Last Mile Now Incentive Program
MFC, in recognition of the challenging economics associated with new last-mile broadband projects in rural areas of Maine, has established a program to make up to 1,700 strand miles of subsidized dark fiber available to organizations with qualified ConnectME projects that apply for and/or are awarded last mile grants by the ConnectME Authority in 2016. This program is intended to help reduce barriers to entry for last-mile broadband providers proposing to serve the most rural areas of Maine (generally ISPs and CLECs, but increasingly municipalities), thereby increasing competition and accelerating deployment of broadband that meets the new 10/10 performance standards in Maine. The potential subsidy provided by MFC for the full 1,700 fiber miles could be in excess of $500,000.

• Any organization with legal standing to provide retail broadband in Maine is eligible
• Program is only available to ConnectME qualified projects that provide a minimum of 10/10 service to underserved or unserved customers
• Minimum 5 year commitment to leasing the fiber

Maine Fiber Company’s Rural Rate Discount
With lower and more dispersed populations, rural Maine communities face particular challenges when it comes to obtaining true, 10/10 high-speed Internet. Companies and others interested in building networks that serve those communities face market disincentives — using resources to build a network to reach fewer paying customers versus building a network to reach more paying customers. To be part of the solution and make it easier to build true broadband to the most rural parts of Maine, MFC is providing new discounted rates on 761 rural miles (65 percent) of its 1,224 mile Three Ring Binder network.

“This is going to make it a lot easier for businesses like mine who want to serve rural communities with true 10/10 high-speed Internet service or even gigabit service, but need time to build a network and grow a customer base,” said Tim McAfee, CEO of Pioneer Broadband. “MFC is changing the math in a way that makes it more likely rural communities are going to get high-speed Internet sooner and that is a big deal.”

The Discount Rural Rate for new customers will be available beginning January 1, 2016.


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