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October 1, 2012 | last updated October 1, 2012 11:29 am

Statewide broadband project done ahead of schedule

The 1,100-mile fiber optic network aimed at linking small businesses and rural Maine homes to speedy and reliable Internet service is up and running.

Completion of the $31.5-million Three Ring Binder project was announced Friday, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Dwight Allison, CEO of Maine Fiber Co., said during a press conference that the project extending from York County in southern Maine to Calais and Presque Isle in Aroostook County already has attracted 12 customers leasing bandwidth on the network and another 29 contracts are in progress.

The network built by Maine Fiber Co. is open to any customers wishing to lease space, a move Allison said he hopes will encourage growth for business small and large.

"We built a highway through the state and said as long as you pay the toll anybody can get on this," he said, according to the BDN. "That means more competition, more startups. You can start a GWI-type of company now and have, in essence, a $30 million fiber network at your disposal without having to write out a $30 million check."

Tim McAfee, the CEO of Pioneer Broadband, told the BDN that his company is now considering locating a cloud-computing center for offsite data storage at the Loring Commerce Center, which is now connected to the 10-gigabit data line.

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