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Making Broadband Broader in Maine

November 3, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Internet can help give small towns big-city access to services such as health care and education - but the key is high-speed broadband. This week, eight new members were named to the state Broadband Capacity Building Task Force, charged with expanding the availability and use of high-speed Internet in rural areas of the state.

Maine State Economist Amanda Rector says the panel has an important mission.

"How we can expand the capacity of broadband in Maine, particularly in rural areas along different routes such as health care, education, business."

When it comes to issues such as delivering health care to rural areas, the panel will identify obstacles to greater use and recommend policies for change.

Rector says high-speed Internet access is a great equalizer for rural areas in states such as Maine.

"The ability to connect to broadband is very important, particularly in those rural areas, because it does connect you to a larger world of opportunities."

Increasingly, the Internet can be used to access medical specialties which don't require the patient to drive hundreds of miles to large cities.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - ME