ROCKPORT, Maine — Neighbors Rockland and Rockport have commissioned a study on how to expand fiber broadband services across both communities.
The Rockport Select Board voted unanimously Monday night to support the study. The Rockland City Council gave its support in February to seeking proposals for faster Internet services.
Portland -based company Tilson has been selected to conduct the feasibility study. Rockport Town Manager Richard Bates said the study should take about three months. Rockland and Rockport are splitting the $42,000 cost of the study.
“It only makes sense to take a very long and strategic view when it comes to building a world-class Internet infrastructure here in Maine,” Bates said. “The town leaders are absolutely convinced that this is a crucial move, not only for the economy of Rockport and Rockland, but for the entire state. If we build this infrastructure, we are enabling the natural creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens to bubble up and fire the economy.”
Rockport received national attention last summer when it became the first municipality in the state to install its own fiber-optic Internet network, capable of data speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, both upload and download. The town was invited to be an inaugural member of Next Century Cities, received a briefing from White House staff about President Barack Obama’s Internet strategy, and recently helped launch the Maine Broadband Coalition.
Bates said elected officials in Rockport are enthusiastic about bringing world-class Internet quality and reliability to everyone in town.
“The Select Board is a well-educated group, and they know this is not some shiny new toy. Ultra-fast Internet is literally the essential building block of every Maine community’s future, and the town’s leaders are being extremely perceptive by taking this prudent step.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story requires correction. The study will cost $42,000, not $30,000 as previously reported and Tilson is a Portland-based company.