July 31, 2017

OTT’s project boosts rural Penobscot County town’s broadband

Maine-based OTT Communications, a division of Otelco Inc., won a ConnectME Authority matching grant that will allow the company to provide high-speed fiber optic broadband service to unserved residents of the Penobscot County town of Alton.

The $78,000 grant will be matched by an equal investment by OTT.

The grant-supported portion of the build-out will serve 33 premises in the area. At its own expense, OTT will connect an additional 36 homes that it passes to reach the area covered by the grant. Most of those 36 additional homes currently have download speeds of between 4 and 10 Mbps and upload speeds of less than 2 Mbps.

OTT's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network will improve service levels, and will deliver speeds as much as five times faster than the current maximum when the project is completed by the end of the year.

To reach the homes OTT will need to set 40 poles over a 9,000-foot stretch of road, with the assistance of the ConnectME grant.

"Alton is a very rural area of Maine and people there know high speed broadband service is needed to work remotely or grow an at-home business," Otelco CEO Rob Souza said in a news release. "Our company was formed by rural Mainers over 100 years ago when the major phone companies were uninterested in bringing telephone service to rural communities. Today's announcement that we are investing to bring fiber optic infrastructure to Alton demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making sure rural Maine communities and businesses have the technology they need to compete and win in today's economy."

OTT recently completed FTTH projects in Lowell, Gray and New Gloucester as well as other projects in Vermont, Alabama and Missouri. A FTTH project is currently underway in West Enfield as well.

Jason Beylerian, who runs the online camping equipment business Outdoorstockroom, said the faster internet speed resulting from OTT's investment will boost his day-to-day business activities.

"In the six months that I have had my online camping equipment store open, I have found it hard to do essential tasks," he said. "I can get them done, but it just takes longer. Time is money, and you don't stay in business if you're losing money … We at would benefit greatly by getting real world speeds piped into our home business."


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