This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.
In today’s digital age, it has become easier than ever before for farmers in rural areas to tap into markets beyond their immediate communities and connect directly with consumers to sell their goods at retail rates. But unfortunately there are still many areas in our rural state without access to high speed internet.
That’s why this session the Maine Farm Bureau (MFB) supported Representative Robert Alley’s bill, LD 147, “An Act To Extend Internet Availability in Rural Maine.” This bill directs the State Librarian, the Commissioner of Education and the ConnectME Authority to identify areas of our state that lack broadband coverage to provide libraries within those communities with hotspots so area residents can check use them to gain access to the internet at their home or place of business. The intent of the bill was to build off a successful pilot project targeting Washington County that has since expired.
As a member of the MFB Board of Directors, I would like to thank legislators for their unanimous support of LD 147, as well as Governor Janet Mills for signing this important emergency legislation into law.
This was just one piece of the puzzle considered in Augusta this session to connect our hard-to-reach communities to high speed internet so students and small business owners, like farmers, have the internet access they need to succeed.