Bloomberg highlights Maine’s sluggish Internet speeds, municipal solutions

Bloomberg News reported something with which you, loading the BDN website, are probably well aware: Internet speeds in Maine are not the fastest.

The report from Bloomberg follows writer Susan Crawford’s favorable review of Rockport’s municipally owned broadband network, unveiled earlier this month.

The report highlights some of the challenges well-known to Maine Internet users but also the challenges that high-speed providers face in looking at Maine’s widely dispersed population and seeing opportunities to make money. For comparison, Bloomberg reported average Internet speeds are about 150 megabits per second in New York. Maine’s average is 9 megabits per second.

The report includes Fletcher Kittredge, CEO of the Portland-based Great Works Internet, an outspoken advocate and developer of municipal broadband connections that would make use of the Three Ring Binder fiber network that runs through the state. He and other experts from around the state and country shared the conclusion at an April conference in Biddeford that municipally funded broadband networks would be necessary for building out last-mile connections that would connect homes and businesses to the state’s fiber network.

The report highlights the efforts in Old Town and Orono to fund last-mile connections with municipal dollars, then leasing that capacity back to Internet providers.

Lee Ulrichsen, who operates a pottery business from her home on Nokomis Road in St. Albans, was one of the business owners I spoke with in April who shared how her Internet troubles were putting a damper on business.

Bloomberg spoke with James Sparaga, owner of Machias Dental, who said a faster network connection running just outside his office would cost tens of thousands in investment to connect to his offices.

What would faster Internet speeds in Maine mean for you?

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.