PORTLAND — A fast-growing, Boston-based technology firm announced Tuesday that it will expand into Lewiston, in a move that some say indicates Maine has become an attractive destination for the technology industry.

Boston-based Carbonite Inc., which sells online computer and file backup systems to consumers and businesses, will open a customer service center in Lewiston this summer. The opening will mark the company’s entry into Maine.

Carbonite, named one of the nation’s fastest-growing firms by Inc. magazine, expects the center to open officially in June and employ 150 people by the end of this year.

That number could eventually swell to 250, said David Friend, Carbonite’s CEO. Friend declined to disclose the location of the center because negotiations with the landlord continue.

He said the new jobs in Maine will replace jobs at Carbonite’s customer service center in India, which opened in 2006. Carbonite decided to bring those jobs stateside because the center in India never matched the service levels at Carbonite’s smaller call center in Boston.

“We worked for four years to get that same level of customer satisfaction in India, and we have never been able to do it,” Friend said.

Carbonite also considered New Hampshire and Massachusetts for the expansion, then chose Lewiston because of the area’s many colleges and universities, its easy access to Boston, its skilled work force and high-speed broadband access.

“There (is) a good, stable work force here and people coming into the labor market who (are) well-educated,” he said.

Workers at the center in Lewiston will range from entry-level customer service agents to business managers and human resources executives.

Friend said Carbonite seeks employees who are familiar with Microsoft and Apple operating systems and smartphones.

“They are not just call center jobs; these are jobs that require technical know-how,” he said.

The jobs will pay three times as much as those in India. Friend called that investment an opportunity for the company’s customer service division to shine. “While this is more expensive, I think it is good business for Carbonite,” he said.

Some of the jobs will pay from $35,000 to more than $50,000 yearly, plus benefits, said Matt Jacobson, CEO of Maine & Company, a business consulting group that helped attract Carbonite to Maine.

Jacobson said Carbonite’s announcement marks a “sea change for (Maine) in the way the high-tech world views us, and how we (view) ourselves.”

He said Maine has struggled to find an identity in the new, technology-dominated economy.

“This is a real good endorsement that we can compete in this new economy,” he said. “And we have to start viewing ourselves as a state that can take on these new companies.”

According to Inc. magazine, Carbonite’s revenue jumped from $169,035 in 2006 to $19.1 million in 2009.

Maine has attracted other Massachusetts-based technology firms in recent years, including Athenahealth Inc., a medical records and billing company, and PlumChoice Inc., a customer service technology company.

“We are starting to repeat ourselves a bit,” said Jacobson. “That is a message to the folks down in Boston that they can (have operations here). … These build on each other.”

Another company, Franklin, Tenn.-based NotifyMD, which answers after-hours phone calls for doctors’ offices, opened a call center in Maine in 2006.

Lincoln Jeffers, an economic development official in Lewiston, said the city didn’t provide any major incentives to close the deal.

He called Carbonite’s expansion another step in the evolution of the area, where high-tech firms, health care companies and precision manufacturers have replaced shoe factories and mills as the dominant employers.

Jeffers said employers like the area’s “strong, deep-seated work ethic,” and his office and the region’s business community, including the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, have “been aggressive in our economic development strategies.”

Friend predicted that other companies, particularly those that need good customer service, may follow Carbonite and bring more jobs back to the United States.

“I think this will be a trend,” he said. “With (high) unemployment in the U.S. and the opportunity to hire really good people, I think other companies will follow in our footsteps.”

Carbonite made the announcement at a press conference in Lewiston that was attended by Gov. Paul LePage. In a prepared statement, the governor said the news makes for “an exciting day for Maine.”

“We like to say that ‘Maine is open for business,’ and the fact that an innovative, fast-growing company like Carbonite has chosen to locate here demonstrates that we are serious about making this a business-friendly state,” he said.

Staff Writer Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or at: [email protected]