1st Quarter 2016 Newsletter
Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau Recognizes & Congratulates UniTel
Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) was pleased to recognize UniTel with a legislative sentiment on the floor of the Senate on February 2, 2016 for receiving an award from NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association. The national organization recognized UniTel for its innovative work to bring high-speed broadband to the rural communities they serve.
L to R: Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau, UniTel President & CEO Laurie Osgood, Beth Osler, Larry Sterrs, Jim Carlson, Representative Mary Ann Kinney.
Senate President Thibodeau said, "After serving the rural area for more than 114 years it is no surprise that UniTel continues to meet the needs of its community, individuals, businesses and nonprofits with a plan to provide pivotal Internet access via fiber to everyone in the sixteen communities they serve. I see the work that they have done as a model for the entire state and I congratulate them on their award and for their vision."
This recognition highlights the extensive work that UniTel is currently undertaking to extend high speed internet access throughout their rural service area. Their most recent endeavor involves a 90-mile Fiber To The Home (FTTH) initiative in addition to the 160 miles of existing fiber network. The build-out began early 2015 with plans of being operational in the towns of Newburgh, Dixmont, Knox, Thorndike and Troy by February 2016. When complete, UniTel plans to offer several speeds with customized options up to 1 Gigabit per second.
UniTel Continues FREE Digital Literacy Classes
UniTel has announced that they are partnering with the Unity Foundation to continue offering FREE Digital Literacy Classes through February 2017. In the past year, the classes have had outstanding participation from citizens and businesses. So far, this partnership has been able to offer over 300 digital literacy classes with over 2,650 hours of classroom instruction for 590 students and 106 businesses from over 30 different towns/communities.
These classes are designed to provide a wide range of educational opportunities including helping local individuals and businesses learn how to access the internet safely and conveniently and to develop the skills to take full advantage of its benefits for both personal and business use. Over the past year, classes offered included: Intro to Computers, Quickbooks, Gmail, Streaming - Watching TV Via the Internet, Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Word, Excel & Powerpoint, Social Media, Facebook for Business, Windows 10, The Internet - What it is and How To Use It and many more. UniTel and Unity Foundation are very excited to continue to offer this valuable training opportunity over the next year, and hope to see many new faces enrolled in future class offerings. Their intention is to advance educational opportunities, expand economic development and enhance lives in the communities we serve!
To customize their course offerings, UniTel has included a survey in their recent customer billing requesting input on digital literacy class topics and interests. Customers can complete this survey or any community member with interest can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-948-2374 to share information or to learn more about class offerings in the upcoming months.
Helping the Communities We Serve
At UniTel we are proud to be a part of our vibrant Maine community. Giving back to local organizations means so much to our leadership and staff. Here are just a few of the ways we were able to connect with local groups doing good in our region.
- UniTel and its employees were pleased to support local food pantries in the communities we serve during the holiday season. Monetary donations from employees as well as UniTel were provided to the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry (serves 11 communities), Loaves & Fishes in Albion, Full Gospel Food Pantry in Newburgh, and People for People.
- A check in the amount of $1,800 was sent to Warm Waldo to help provide heat assistance to those in need in our communities on behalf of UniTel, Unity Foundation and its employees.
- UniTel was happy to assist the Dixmont Rescue in their fundraising effort to raise funds to purchase a new AED unit for the Dixmont Town Office by offering a matching funds campaign. UniTel is pleased to support such a worthwhile community project. Thank you to everyone that contributed to help make this purchase possible!