Partnership Brings High-Speed Internet To Rural Maine
May 19, 2020
Machias Savings Bank, headquartered in Machias, Maine, is offering its customers faster service. But of a different kind. The bank has partnered with Axiom, an internet service provider, to offer high-speed fiber internet.
The Maine Business Journal reports the two businesses are launching The Machias Downtown Fiber Project. It will make fiber optic broadband internet connections available to over 50 businesses and 30 homes in the area. The new capacity will also serve the expanded Machias Savings headquarters, currently under construction at 31 Main St.
“We needed fiber connectivity in our new facility,” said Chris Lyford, Machias Savings chief operating officer. “This was going to cost the bank $60,000. As we started to lay out the plans, it became clear that in addition to the businesses that would be able to ‘coat-tail’ on our dedicated connection, there was a unique opportunity here, and with the addition of another $20,000 investment, we could actually make this available, and affordable to the majority of our downtown businesses and municipal buildings, including the library and the town office.”
The timing of COVID-19 has reinforced the need for rural communities like Machias to have access to reliable, fast Internet, said Larry Barker, CEO of Machias Savings.
“We recognize that for many businesses struggling with the economic impact of this pandemic, the upfront cost to connect to this fiber line could be a barrier to accessing the technology they desperately need. Along with our investment of $80,000 to fund fiber construction, we’re also donating $5,000 in grant funding to cover connection costs that will alleviate this potential financial burden for our businesses.”
This type of fiber technology parallels the internet service available in New York City, offering subscribers access to speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second. The technology provides for symmetrical service, meaning users have the same speed for both downloading and uploading, which better supports digital activities such as real-time video conferencing, telemedicine, entrepreneurial activities, and the ability to work or learn from home.