Maine Towns Get Non-Profit Broadband Utility


Pioneer Broadband in concert with Downeast Broadband Utility are launching Maine’s first non-profit broadband service. Pioneer Broadband will build an open-access fiber infrastructure in the towns of Baileyville and Calais using all ADTRAN technology.

Downeast Broadband says it is working with Pioneer on the network after being left behind by major telecommunications providers. Pioneer Broadband won the RFP by designing an open-access fiber optic network that will allow multiple service providers to utilize the network in the future. This plan gave the communities the high-speed internet they needed at a reasonable cost. ADTRAN will be providing its TA5000 GPON solution for network infrastructure.

Pioneer Broadband is a privately owned, local Maine company that provides residential and business telecommunications services and is the only internet service provider in Maine to have connections to the Canadian internet backbone.

The Downeast/Pioneer deal is the latest partnership in a growing rural broadband expansion effort underway in Maine. As CivSource recently reported, RTO Wireless another rural broadband provider in the state recently partnered with Microsoft to use some of its rural broadband technology for 16 counties in Maine. That partnership will enable the use of TV White Space Broadband and the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) to deliver fixed and mobile wireless.

On September 12, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce will also be holding a statewide forum too discuss rural broadband expansion throughout the state. The local Chamber has called on the state government to spend as much as $100 million per year on network expansion. However, that level of spending seems unlikely while controversial governor Paul LePage retains the office. LePage has severely limited state spending throughout his tenure. Speakers from ConnectME Authority and the U.S. Agriculture Department are expected at the forum. Both ConnectME and USDA have been high profile advocates for rural broadband expansion.