Maine Fiber Company, a local provider of broadband access in Maine, has released new initiatives for rural broadband that will get underway in 2016. Maine Fiber Company owns and operates the Three Ring Binder network, an open access broadband network that covers much of rural Maine.
As part of its 2016 plan, the company has announced a rate reduction for more than half of its network starting in January.
Allison and MFC Vice President Jeff McCarthy outlined the company’s two incentives. Through the MFC Last Mile Now Incentive Program, projects approved by the ConnectME Authority will be eligible for in excess of $500,000 in discounts and incentives, including no payments due during the critical first two years. When combined with the new MFC Rural Rate Discount, anyone needing middle-mile fiber to connect a last-mile broadband project in the most rural parts of Maine — on well over half of MFC’s Three Ring Binder route, will be eligible for savings totaling more than 50% over five years.
Maine Fiber Company has supported the rural access by making up to 1,700 strand miles of subsidized dark fiber available to organizations with qualified ConnectME projects that apply for and/or are awarded last mile grants by the ConnectME Authority. By providing the network, the company wants to support the growth of broadband that meets the new 10/10 minimum standard in Maine. The 10/10 guideline stands for 10 megabits per second download by 10 megabits per second upload.
The initiative is notable as Maine has one of the lowest broadband penetration rates in the US as a result of challenging geographies and low population.
The Three Ring Binder network was originally built through a $25.4 million grant and $7.4 million in private investment and was completed in 2012.