Spectrum is Buying a Small Cable TV Provider to Expand Their Home Internet Services in Maine





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$82 million has been invested into the state of Maine, announced by Charter Communications, Inc., also known as Spectrum. In a news release, the company said the investment is part of a “company-wide network evolution that will enable the delivery of symmetrical and multiple gigabit speeds across the state.” 

Fully funded by Charter, this investment will “substantially complete across the company’s Maine service area, which comprises more than 700,000 homes and businesses, by the end of 2023,” according to the recent news release. The investment was set to originally be $70 million, but Charter recently announced they would be adding an additional $12 million commitment that is set to further rural broadband expansion in the entire state. 

Part of this deal has Charter buying the smaller cable TV provider called Bee Line Cable.

“And the company also announced an agreement to acquire assets of Madison, Main-based Bee Line Cable and launch its suite of Spectrum-branded connectivity services in communities currently served by Bee Line, bringing broadband speed and service enhancements to thousands of its Somerset, Franklin, and Penobscot County customers,” the release went on to say. 

During a press conference held at the Maine State House on Thursday, Charter representatives met state workers from the Maine Connectivity Authority. Andrew Butcher, president of the association, said Maine faces very distinctive challenges with Internet access. 

“We have a big problem to solve in Maine. We live in a big state with not a lot of people in it,” Butcher stated. “We need to employ all solutions to the table.” 

Governor Janet Mills also said in the release, “In today’s world, broadband isn’t a luxury – it’s fundamental for our people and our economy. Spectrum’s substantial investment will help thousands of Maine people gain the reliable Internet connection they need to work, study, start a business, see a doctor, and keep in touch with friends and family.” This investment will hopefully provide gigabit-speed broadband access to more than 3,500 small businesses and homes in Somerset, Penobscot, and Franklin County towns. 

“I thank Spectrum for its commitment to Maine and for its continued partnership as our state works aggressively to reach my goal of ensuring that everyone who wants a reliable Internet connection can have one by the end of 2024.” Mills concludes. 

Charter said it expects to close on the transaction with Bee Line very soon and is planning to “invest millions in its network and operations in communities currently served by Bee Line.” 

For schools in Maine, this announcement is a sigh of relief for many students who don’t have reliable Internet access. Chris Hollingsworth, the curriculum coordinator for RSU 73, said “You could tell when I was talking with families they were very frustrated.” He goes on to say that before the district got funding for hotspots, students were forced to attend classes on their phones. 

Hopefully this new investment will not only benefit students, but also teachers, who report they have struggled with online courses and materials as they themselves do not have adequate Internet access at home. 

The design for the new network that will include gigabit-speed broadband access has reportedly already been completed; construction is expected to start in the next few months, depending on the completion of permitting and utility-pole attachment applications.

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