Rural, isolated areas need high-speed Internet access

I applaud the Utilities and Energy Committee for endorsing Gov. Baldacci's bill to improve high-speed Internet access in Maine's most rural and isolated areas.

It is ironic that these are the areas where high-speed Internet has so far been unfeasible, for these are the places where people need it most.

People there do not have the luxury of easy access to courses and workshops, research libraries, business services and all the things that help Maine citizens stay current and competitive in the local and global economies.

As a distance-education student in a graduate-level library and information science program, I understand firsthand the importance of equal access to high-speed Internet for all of Maine.

My community is one of the places where the cost of creating infrastructure for high-speed service has been prohibitive.

A requirement of my program is high-speed Internet to enable video streaming and live chat during classes.

I am unable to work from home, and I suspect this is the case for other students and businesspersons in rural Maine.

I am also learning that more and more information is becoming available digitally, sometimes exclusively so.

It is only fair that all of Maine's citizens be able to access digital information on an equal basis.

The fact that 86 percent of Maine's population already has access to high-speed Internet is an impressive figure, but it is not good enough.

Let's aim for 100 percent.

Elizabeth J. Dyer
Chebeague Island