First portion of Maine’s broadband Internet highway complete

By Ramona du Houx

November 1st, 2010

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In November, doctors at Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital will be able to transmit CT scans to neurologists at Maine Medical Center in Portland and follow up with consultations over a secure network called Telestroke.

This is an example of the communication benefits expected to come from the Three Ring Binder, a super-highway of high-speed Internet lines. The Three Ring Binder will provide 1,100 miles of high capacity “dark fiber” high-speed Internet infrastructure within more than 100 Maine communities representing 110,000 households, 600 anchor community institutions, and 38 government facilities.

The first 5 miles of the fiber-optic network are now live along Route 1 in Brunswick, and Mid Coast Hospital is the first anchor institution to hook up.

“Mid Coast Hospital is pleased to be the first anchor institution in Maine to utilize the Three Ring Binder network,” said John Stoy of Mid Coast Hospital. “We have increased our Wide Area Network connectivity speed ten times over and at the same time reduced the cost of our infrastructure.”

Stoy said the hospital’s decision to connect to the Three Ring Binder would allow it to meet management goals for increasing the quality of patient care, and supporting physicians needs as the organization moves to an Electronic Health Record across its network and cutting costs at the same time.

Workers will be hanging fiber south to Portland and Biddeford, and east to Machias in the coming months. Within three years, project will be completed, covering southern, northern and Down East sections of the state. The project will employ 270 workers.

“Maine’s leaders came together because they saw the potential for a best in the nation high-speed Internet network to connect rural Maine to economic opportunity,” said Maine Fiber Company, Inc. CEO Dwight Allison. “We are aggressively signing up qualified companies committed to bringing quality, high-speed Internet service to Maine businesses and families who don’t have access today. Within 12 months, the Three Ring Binder will reach from here in Brunswick – to Biddeford and all the way to Machias.”

Three Ring Binder was conceived by state officials, business leaders and telecom companies as a way to build the equivalent of an interstate highway system of fiber-optic cable. It will make Maine a stronger digital pathway for information flowing between Europe and the East Coast of the United States.

The Three Ring Binder will enable any business to use Maine as a base in the Global economy.