GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Support of LD 520, To Fund Improved Broadband Service in Underserved Areas

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 520

January 10, 2018

Senator Hamper, Representative Gattine and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, my name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine.

We are a statewide non-partisan, non-profit, membership-based organization working to create lasting prosperity without sacrificing the quality of life that defines Maine. This testimony is one component of our support for a balance of strategic investments in Maine’s communities, infrastructure, natural resources and economic capacity.

LD 520 would fund the establishment and improvement of broadband service in underserved areas of the state. Maine’s unique economic strength is tied to those working in the natural-resource sector and those who can choose to live anywhere and bring their livelihood with them. These are compatible, and both require affordable access to effective broadband. In addition to economic growth, tele-health tools can reduce medical costs and allow Mainers to remain at home, education opportunities at all levels require fast, reliable broadband. As a member of the Maine Broadband Coalition, GrowSmart Maine enthusiastically support this initiative.

Learn more about the Maine Broadband Coalition Here

Just last month, we hosted an advocacy workshop of the Maine Alliance for Smart Growth (MASG), to review upcoming issues and establish priorities for our work in 2018.  Access to broadband was far and away the issue of greatest concern for our attendees. The MASG is a network of communities, individuals, businesses and organizations with a proven interest in promoting and supporting economically and culturally vital downtowns as places with businesses and jobs, as well as community and cultural events all resulting from long range vision and design, and strategic public and private investments. Broadband is one of those strategic investments we must make. Learn more about MASG here: http://bit.ly/MEAlliance4SmartGrowth

Members of this committee have much work ahead. Determining the right level of investment and the appropriate balance of needs to be addressed will be yet another “opportunity” for this committee to make Maine proud. We at GrowSmart Maine will assist in any way that is helpful.