Saturday, November 27, 2021

Play

Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.

Play

Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Broadband-Bill Sponsors Hope to Improve Maine’s Internet

Play

Tuesday, January 21, 2020   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Backers of two broadband bills hope to improve the state of internet service in Maine, one of the most rural states in the country. A general bill encouraging the development of broadband coverage in rural Maine will get a public hearing this morning at the Statehouse.

State Senator Shenna Bellows is sponsoring LD 1563, called the Maine Broadband Initiative, and the legislation to fund it, which gets a hearing later this month. For Bellows, internet access is a personal issue.

"I grew up without electricity and running water when I was a kid," Bellows said. "Today, if you're a kid growing up without internet, you're at a similar disadvantage."

Bellows led a similar effort to improve broadband access in 2017 - and it passed, but then failed to get enough funding to move forward in a tough budget year. In 2017, the plan needed just over $6 million. Today's initiative asks for $15 million, in part because infrastructure costs have risen.

According to the latest census data, fewer households in Maine have internet than any other state in New England. Spectrum announced at the end of 2018 it would help bring high-speed internet to 650,000 homes and businesses in Maine.

But Bellows said public investment is still necessary to expand broadband here.

"In rural communities, an entirely private-sector model of investment is simply not viable," she said. "There needs to be a public-private partnership."

Gov. Janet Mills has said she supports the broadband initiative. Today's hearing will begin at 10 a.m. The funding bill, LD 2021, will get a hearing January 28, also at 10 a.m.


get more stories like this via email

Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)

Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


Environment

HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…


Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

The mission of the 'Buy Nothing Project' is to promote the giving of goods and services within hyperlocal circles. (bfleeson/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021