Maine can’t have a 21st century economy without a 21st century telecommunications infrastructure.
Just as the 20th century required adequate roads, and the centuries before required railroads and navigable rivers, today we must have high-speed Internet connections to the world in order to improve the economy.
Without high-speed Internet connections, Maine companies will not be able to compete, new companies will not relocate to Maine, highly skilled workers will not relocate to Maine and talented young people will leave.
We have to build a network that is designed for tomorrow, not today.
Tomorrow’s economy will require gigabit fiber networks (providing the ability to both download and upload data at least 1 gigabit-per-second.)
Building a world-class telecommunications infrastructure will draw people and investments to Maine.
Today, people don’t have to live where they work; they can work where they live, as long as they can connect seamlessly to their employers and the global Internet. People want to live in Maine — a competitive advantage for us. Building high-speed networks throughout the state will allow people to live and work in rural Maine as never before. Young people can stay where they want to live, because they can find jobs locally or telecommute. Older citizens can stay in their homes because of advances in tele-healthcare. Kids can learn in schools and at home with connections to the world.
Let’s be smart about how to build this network.
Maine is a large state and building advanced networks will be a massive undertaking. Doing this right will take careful planning and many hands. We’ll need expertise from across the state, and the country, to better understand what we need and how to succeed. We’ll need to combine financial support from public and private, state, federal and local sources. To build these networks, we need to make smart choices. We are self-reliant, and our local communities know best what they need to survive, and thrive. Maine’s cities are already making progress. We should support these efforts with financial and technical assistance to make sure they succeed.
Lighthouse Photo by J. Labrador, used under Creative Commons License.