Thursday, May 23, 2013
By RACHEL OHM Morning Sentinel
PITTSFIELD – When her doctor told her she could no longer work, Angela Godbout of Readfield turned to the Internet for something to do.
Angela Godbout, of Readfield, create the business www.putateentowork.com that connects teens with people who need odd jobs done.
Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer
The mother of two started a website, Put a Teen to Work, which matches teenagers with people who need help with odd jobs.
"I had been home and out of work," she said. "I like to write and I was looking at freelance sites when I realized that I could do this."
A new high-speed Internet project in Maine could make it easier and faster for web-based entrepreneurs like Godbout to operate.
The Three Ring Binder, a project of the Maine Fiber Co., is a 1,000-mile route of fiber optic cable as thin as a human hair that will provide access points to the Internet "backbone," the principal data route between larger networks.
It will provide high-speed Internet service to businesses, homes and communities across much of Maine. "It will be easier and less expensive to get high-speed Internet connections out to remote parts of Maine," said Jeff McCarthy, vice president of business development for the Maine Fiber Co.
The network, originally scheduled for completion in December, is open for service and has already contracted with 12 service providers, including Biddeford-based GWI.
That could help many small Internet-based businesses, such as Bag End Suri Alpacas in Pittsfield, run by Jill McElberry-Maxwell. Her husband, Bruce Maxwell, is chairman of the computer science department at Colby College.
He said the two main challenges to starting a website or business online are infrastructure and marketing.
"You need to build a website that actually does what you need it to do and you somehow have to get it out there and get people directed to your site," he said.
Having faster Internet answers both needs.
"If I was an investor looking into one of these companies, I would say it is a plus to have this in your backyard," said McCarthy.
The faster connection also comes in handy in live-streaming an alpaca auction.
"Alpaca farmers are big Internet people," said Maxwell. "If you get out into central Maine, everyone is on the Internet. All the alpaca farmers are Facebook friends. They have forums and buy and sell alpacas online."
"I consider it crucial to my business," said McElberry-Maxwell.
Fletcher Kittredge, CEO of GWI, said the Three Ring Binder "has already helped us expand high-speed Internet service to eight communities across the state. With this kind of speed available to test and develop the next generation of technology applications, the next Google or Facebook could be born in Maine."
Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at: