February 26, 2018

$1M project expands high-speed internet in Piscataquis County

Premium Choice Broadband is nearing the final stages of a $1 million project to bring high-speed fiber internet connections to rural Maine.

The company stated in a news release that it had installed more than 40 miles of fiber optic cable connecting Dover-Foxcroft and downtown Monson with what will be some of the fastest internet connectivity in the state. The new fiber optic cable network will go live May 1.

"This represents a major financial commitment to the people and businesses of the Maine highlands — an area we believe in," said Bill Varney, Premium Choice's president.

Brewer-based Premium Choice Broadband said in its news release the new network will provide access speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. By year's end, it should reach speeds of 1 gigabits per second. By comparison, cable internet speeds offered in more urban parts of Maine are typically up to 60Mbps, the company stated.

Access to reliable broadband is considered one of the major challenges faced by rural businesses. See a related story in the recent issue of Mainebiz.

Libra's role in rural redevelopment

Libra Foundation, a private foundation based in Portland, played a key role as an early adopter and helped to finance the fiber connection in Monson, where it has made other investment in economic development.

"Reliable, fast internet service is critical to attracting and retaining businesses, artisans and residents in Monson and Piscataquis County," said Erik Hayward, senior vice president at Libra. "Premium Choice was the natural partner to provide this essential service."

The project's fiber-optic route will serve several Dover-Foxcroft streets, including Lawrence Street, and Pine Street; Douty Hill Road and Pleasant Avenue in Sangerville; Hudson Avenue and Elm Street in Guilford; and Maine Routes 6/15 through Abbot and Monson.

Premium Choice has other projects planned in Piscataquis County for later in 2018, including investment in Atkinson, Sebec, Shirley and Greenville, as well as expanding its network in Dover-Foxcroft.

The Premium Choice Broadband fiber project connects directly to the statewide Three Ring Binder network, providing customers with an all-fiber connection. The project is being completed entirely with private funds.


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