AARP Eye Center
PORTLAND—AARP Maine applauds Maine voters for voting “Yes” on Question 1 of the ballot referendum in the July 14th Maine State Primary. The passage of Question 1 supports 15 million dollars to fund high-speed internet expansion to underserved and unserved areas. The funding will be matched with an estimated $30 million dollars in federal, private, local, and other funds to triple the impact. Question 1 is considered a critical first step in statewide efforts to close opportunity gaps and strengthen Maine’s economy.
“For too long, Mainers in rural areas of the state have lacked the infrastructure for high-speed internet,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “On behalf of our 230,000 members in Maine, we thank voters and our collaborative partners for recognizing how critical it is for every Mainer, no matter their age, to have access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet from every corner of the state.”
An estimated 85,000 Mainers currently do not have access to high-speed internet. For many, this means they have little or no connection to family, friends, and critical services such as tele-medicine and counseling. For some, lack of high-speed internet creates barriers to doing business and creating jobs. Still others, particularly older Mainers, miss out on opportunities to offset loneliness, depression and isolation. The passage of Question 1 is an essential development for Mainers of all ages.
AARP Maine collaborated with many Maine businesses and organizations in support of Question 1 and the effort to expand affordable internet access statewide. The Island Institute, Educate Maine, The Maine Community Foundation, and Maine Farmland Trust are just a few organizations partnered with AARP Maine as members of the Maine Broadband Coalition. AARP Maine’s campaign to support Question 1 was also bolstered by the collaborative efforts of volunteers from across the state who shared stories and testimonials about what high-speed internet access means to them—people like Paul Armstrong from Palermo, Sarah Copperberg from Gorham, and Mike Gleason from Bangor. All videos can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/AARPMaine.