Maine Fiber Company, Inc. (transferred from Biddeford Internet Corp. d.b.a. GWI)

Three Ring Binder

The Three Ring Binder project proposes to create an open access fiber-optic network extending to the most rural and disadvantaged areas of the state of Maine – from the Saint John Valley in the north, to the rocky coastline of downeast Maine, to the mountainous regions of Western Maine – linking the unserved and underserved areas of the state together with a modern communications network. The project proposes a 1,100-mile network that will pass through more than 100 communities make broadband more readily available to 110,000 households, 600 community anchor institutions, and a number of last mile service providers. The public-private partnership expects to provide 100 Mbps broadband capabilities for University of Maine campuses, community colleges, government facilities, public safety departments, the MaineREN research and education network, and rural healthcare clinics and hospitals. The project plans to benefit clinics and hospitals by allowing for more immediate contact with clinical healthcare specialists and by increasing the collaboration of local community-based healthcare providers with specialists in major metropolitan areas.

Total Award: 
$25,402,904
BTOP In Action
Photo: “Maine Fiber BTOP in Action Ribbon-cutting Outside”

Maine Fiber Company, Inc. announced the completion of the first Three Ring Binder lateral on October 8, 2010, a five-mile section of what will become a 1,100-mile rural high-speed Internet network. A ribbon-cutting ceremony made Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick the first of hundreds of community anchor institutions expected to connect to the Three Ring Binder stretching from Fort Kent to Biddeford.

Maine Fiber is building out the network in several additional locations as rapidly as possible with plans to work throughout the winter. The pole attachment phase alone will employ small, family-owned and large incumbent detailers, contractors to perform make-ready work, eight crews of construction workers, and professional services. A large effort like this could mean jobs that forestall layoffs and add overtime hours.

Three Ring Binder is a good example of how public and private funding came together to connect the state to broadband services. BTOP funding will help build a middle mile connection to the large Internet hubs or nodes in Portland. Private money will support the laterals off the network needed to reach anchor institutions, including the state’s university and community college campuses, government offices, police stations, and economic development and training facilities.

Mid Coast Hospital illustrates how broadband access will benefit Maine. Beginning November 1, neurologists at Maine Medical Center in Portland will be able to treat Brunswick-area stroke patients via the Internet. High-speed Internet service enables the transmission of large data files such as CT scans. At the same time, patient information is protected over secure networks.

To see additional local media coverage of the project, please visit Maine Public Broadcasting, WCSH6, and Mainebiz Fiber Driver. To get an update on the project, watch Mainebiz Sunday’s The Business of Broadband Part 1 and Part 2.

Last Updated: October 17, 2011

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