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February 7, 2019

A look back: Operator, please connect me to rural Maine

While it seems hard to believe in this day and age, a story about the high cost of long-distance phone calls that ran the December 1995 issue of Mainebiz has a parallel story today.

From that issue of Mainebiz:

“Tim Hutchinson, president of Pine Tree Telephone Co. of Gray and New Gloucester, mentioned the high cost of installing and maintaining telephone service in a rural area and also raised the philosophical question of why, on what IBM advertisements refer to as a small planet, we should continue to equate the cost of a telephone call with the distance it traverses by cable, fiber optics and radio waves.”

A quarter century later, we’re still having the same conversation, this time about rural broadband service.

Fun fact: Also from the December 1995 issue of Mainebiz, Ed McKersie, president of ProSearch Inc. (which, like Mainebiz, started in 1994), may have had one of the early references to a term we hear a lot these days: trailing spouse. “Many people come here to take a job. They have a trailing spouse who might have trouble finding work because this is a small market.”

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