Trevor Haskins, of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, works to run fiber fiber optic cable to a home in Concord, Vt., Thursday Feb. 10, 2022. The nationwide need to connect homes and businesses to high-speed broadband services was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and officials say that while there is lots of money available, supply and labor shortages are making the expansion a challenge. Credit: Wilson Rin

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In contrast to the claims of certain Maine providers, internet service in Penobscot County is not universally available, is not always affordable, and, too often, is not sufficient for the needs of today. That has to change. Internet networks should be built to meet the needs of urban and rural areas alike and should lift up participating businesses.

Public/private broadband partnerships provide a blueprint that accomplishes both of those goals. By design, they are structured to reach consumers in every service area with top quality connectivity and they frugally leverage every funding source available. Public/private collaboration utilizes joint goals, joint funding of construction, and joint operation of the service.

This flexible system is the straightest highway to improving internet service and is where we need to go from here. As a community, we should support Maine’s organizations striving to build robust and affordable networks through these partnerships.

George Burgoyne


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