Maine Island Town Approves Fiber Internet Plans

  • GWI
ISLESBORO, ME — The island town of Islesboro’s year-round residents approved an initial investment to begin moving forward with an ultra-modern fiber Internet infrastructure. The $206,830 approved will fund an initial phase of engineering, acquisition, contract negotiations, the construction bid process and the construction vendor selection process The town has been negotiating with Internet services provider GWI, a Maine-owned ISP that is already helping the town of Rockport and the city of South Portland install fiber optic networks capable of delivering data speeds of as high as 1 Gbps, both upload and download.

Islesboro is a narrow, 14-mile long island in Waldo County, Maine, that supports 600 year-round residents. Its population swells in the summertime with the annual return of vacationers and summer residents.

Casting a Fiber Lifeline to the Future
Many in Maine have reached the conclusion that if much of the state wants to avoid slow economic strangulation, it needs to “plug in” to a fast-changing economy that increasingly relies upon the instantaneous movement of huge amounts of digital data. Island communities face the steepest challenges, but the approval will bring Islesboro one step closer to becoming one of the best-connected towns in the United States. Fletcher Kittredge, founder and CEO of GWI, said the decision is a clear indication that municipalities are growing increasingly impatient with the indifference shown by large Internet providers to remote areas of the country.

“The voters of Islesboro just threw a lifeline to the future generations of town residents,” said Kittredge. “Everybody knows that Maine’s island communities have been shrinking and growing older. By taking this step, town leaders signaled very boldly that it will be possible for future island residents to raise a family and operate a business in the global economy there, thus maintaining the best traditions of island life. The people of Islesboro are just as creative and innovative as anywhere else, probably more so. When they have world-class communications tools in their hands, at an affordable price, that’ll be a real economic spark.”

GWI forecasts that with voter approval secured, the concrete technical details of the Islesboro installation will probably be finished sometime in December, with actual deployment to follow.

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