Speeding Up the Internet - NECN
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Speeding Up the Internet

Maine has some of the slowest Internet service in the US, but South Portland has entered a partnership to set up a 4-mile network that will make service 100 times faster

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    Maine has some of the slowest Internet service in the U.S., but South Portland has entered a partnership to set up a four-mile network that will make service 100 times faster. (Published Monday, Sept. 22, 2014)

    Maine has some of the slowest Internet service in the country - the state's broadband service ranks 49th out of 50 for speed and availability.

    Now, the city of South Portland has entered into a partnership with Biddeford-based Internet provider GWI to set up a four-mile optical fiber network that will roll out in three phases.

    On it, data will be able to travel at a gigabit - that's 1,000 megabits - per second.

    "It's 100 times faster to download stuff," said GWI Founder and CEO Fletcher Kittredge. "The other thing is it's symmetric, so it's just as fast to upload and download."

    The city had already been looking for a faster and more reliable way to network its municipal buildings.

    The 20-year lease with GWI will cost the city $149,000. This partnership also allows businesses and homes along those corridors to hop on the fiber network.

    South Portland IT Director Chris Dumais says the collaboration should save money.

    "The city is currently leasing fiber through another provider," said Dumais. "This project will replace that fiber, saving the city roughly $2,000 a month."

    Residential customers should expect to pay around $70 a month for the high-speed service. Small businesses would spend $200.

    The city expects the high-speed service to be an economic driver.

    "This will help retain current businesses and attract new businesses," said Mayor Gerry Jalbert.

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