Use broadband money to help areas with greatest need

Gov. Mills deserves great credit for making broadband connectivity a priority during her tenure. While her administration’s goal to achieve universal connectivity by the end of 2024 is a bold one, it is also much needed. As a teacher I’ve seen this firsthand, as students continue to need a connection to access learning resources and keep up with their studies.

The significant funding that our state has on hand to address broadband gaps provides us a unique opportunity to bring everyone access, but while this funding is significant, it’s not unlimited. It’s critical that we allocate funds in a manner that prioritizes those with the greatest need first: truly unserved areas regions of that state that have no access to broadband speeds whatsoever.

Some are calling for funding to be given to areas that already have access to multiple providers, viewing it simply as an opportunity to upgrade services, but the reality is that if duplicative projects receive the same level of priority as areas with no access at all, Maine’s unserved communities will once again be pushed to the back of the line, depriving them of the essential connectivity required for remote learning and accessing crucial services provided by the internet.

If we are going to make good on Gov. Mills’ pledge, we need to be diligent in ensuring that our communities with the greatest need don’t get overlooked. Projects in truly unserved regions deserve priority.


Phil Estabrook


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