The Rockland-based internet company Redzone Wireless will soon offer its WiFi in Caribou, Fort Kent and Presque Isle this year as part of an expansion throughout rural Maine.
The company announced Friday that it plans to expand to 26 new Maine communities this year, with portions of 50 adjacent communities also gaining access to the service.
“Our goal over the next few years is to cover over 90 percent of all Maine residents so that they have the choice of Redzone Wireless,” Redzone Vice President of Sales Michael Forcillo said.
Redzone Wireless launched in 2014 and offers high-speed internet through the wireless spectrum, like cell phones, rather than through cable and fiber.
The company has a Federal Communications Commission license for a particular band of the spectrum that covers all of Maine. The technology provides internet through the spectrum using leased infrastructure such as existing cell and radio towers.
“When we started we began developing and activating portions of the network around the state, beginning in the larger hubs,” Forcillo said. “From those hubs, we can expand out into more rural areas.”
Forcillo said that in some areas, the expansion may bring high-speed internet to areas that may currently have expensive satellite as their only option.
Other northern and eastern Maine communities the company has slated for expansion this year include Calais, Machias, Milo and Dover-Foxcroft.
While the core residential areas and some parts of rural areas of many towns in Aroostook County have access to high speed internet, large swaths of rural northern Maine lack broadband infrastructure, and for some people the only option may be satellite.
Forcillo said that Redzone works by leveraging existing telecommunications infrastructure to extend the broadband signal.
“We can extend from tower to tower, and with these hubs we can get a connection through the air to another area 20 miles away. Presque Isle or Caribou have telecom infrastructure that can be leveraged to bring it further afar.”
Forcillo said the company will be finalizing the a timeline for the service’s launch dates within the first quarter of this year.
This was originally published in The County.