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Megabits Find A Home In Rockport

Streaming At The Speed Of Life! Now You Can Work Where You Want To Live.

ROCKPORT, ME — U.S. Senator Angus King of Maine, the Town of Rockport, Maine Media Workshops + College, GWI and Network Maine (part of the UMaine System) announced in a press conference on Monday the official launch of the first municipally-owned ultra-fast internet network in Maine.

“The reason this is so important is that for the first time in human history people can work where they live instead of having to live where they work,” said Senator King. “People have been freed of geography and it gives them an opportunity to choose where they’re going to do their work and where they’re going to work from.”

Also attending the press conference at the invitation of Senator King was Susan Crawford, who served as President Barack Obama’s Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy. She is the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, in which she suggests that high-speed Internet access in the U.S. is as essential as electricity, but is currently too slow and too expensive. Crawford placed this achievement on a par with the completion of the last link in the Transcontinental Railroad 145 years ago this summer, in that it was the closing of an “enormous infrastructure moment, much like this moment today in Rockport.” She added, “The time has come to present new ways of making and building a business, and new ways of making a living. And that means changing the world by using this broadband connectivity.”

Prior to the installation of the fiber network, a typical user's download bandwidth was 9.18 Mbps with an upload bandwidth of 4.29 Mbps. Post-fiber network installation in Rockport Village, the fiber optic Internet connection is 100 times faster than typical connections. The new fiber optic bandwidth now provides a download speed of 84.16 Mbps and an upload speed of 84.50 Mbps. By comparison that’s 35 times faster than, say, the household service for a resident of San Francisco, arguably the heart of the tech industry.

The new network in Rockport is a “gigabit per second” network, meaning it can transmit 1,000 megabits of data per second. It is also “symmetrical,” meaning a customer can upload data to the Internet just as fast as downloading. (In Maine, it is common for download speeds to be 15 megabits per second or less, and for upload speeds to be 1 megabit per second or less.)

Town Manager Rick Bates pointed out, “The sharpest and most innovative entrepreneurs, who will certainly vacation in Rockport, are all about connectivity and place. Now, with ultra-fast Internet access, they can have both.”

Maine Media College President Meg Weston said that now being able to provide ultra-fast gigabit connectivity makes it possible for Maine Media College students to better utilize the newest photography and cinematography technology and distribute and share their work online. It also will provide opportunities for streaming classes and workshops online, for students who can’t attend the college in person, and for all students to eventually have the opportunity to “be on set” with filmmaker instructors via the Internet. The fiber optic connectivity changes the playing field for everyone at the college, and allows it to continue to be “leaders of media arts education in this beautiful village,” she added.

King concluded his comments by saying, “Maine is a beautiful place to live, and raise a family, and there is no reason to live anywhere else if you can do that and work from here, too.”

Posted: August 13, 2014

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