(Unity, Maine) – UniTel, locally owned and operated, was awarded a Smart Rural Community Trailblazer certificate by the NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association in late summer 2015 in recognition of their “innovative work” to bring high speed broadband to the rural communities they serve.
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 an 85 mile fiber to the home (FTTH) initiative. The build-out began early this year with plans of being operational in the towns of Newburgh, Dixmont, Knox, Thorndike and Troy by year-end. When complete, UniTel plans to offer several speeds with customized options up to 1 Gigabit per second. According to UniTel’s CEO Laurie Osgood, “Upon completion of the expansion, UniTel will operate one of the fastest fiber optic networks in Maine and the US.”
UniTel’s service area spans 280 square miles including all or portions of 16 rural communities in parts of three counties. Despite the rural nature of these areas, internet access remains pivotal to residential life, business growth, and non-profit operations. UniTel has made it their mission to provide affordable, dependable broadband service to enhance economic development. Additionally, they have partnered with the Unity Foundation to provide free digital literacy classes to encourage technological education and awareness. Since February 2015, over 200 classes with 1,800 hours of classroom instruction has been provided to over 400 residential and business community members from 25 towns.
About The Unity Foundation: The Unity Foundation (UF) was founded in 2000 by Bert and Coral Clifford, long-time Unity, Maine residents dedicated to improving the viability of their town. The Clifford’s were firm believers in providing incentives and support for economic development and civic improvement. They encouraged community stakeholders to invest in and maintain local playing fields, education, arts and culture organization and business infrastructure – all of which continue to enhance life in Unity. Today, UF invests in building the capacity of nonprofits that serve both local Maine communities and statewide needs. UF supports mission-driven nonprofits in Maine through capacity-building initiatives organizational assessment, programmatic grant making and nonprofit management education. UF’s goal is to promote strong, sustainable nonprofits that reliably serve Maine communities. For more information, visit www.unityfd.org.