Camden-based internet service provider Redzone Wireless LLC is looking to fast-track the development of broadband wireless networks in rural Maine communities in exchange for a five-year service commitment.

Redzone on Tuesday announced a new funding program for rural municipalities seeking to increase high-speed internet performance and service, and said it has committed $1 million in initial project funding for 2017. Redzone said its “Fast for 5” program will provide fully funded, 4G LTE community wireless broadband systems designed, constructed and managed by Redzone in exchange for the local community guaranteeing a minimum level of broadband services for a five-year term.

The new program was developed to increase efficiency and complement the ConnectME Authority’s existing broadband grant program, as well as other federal and state programs supporting rural broadband development, Redzone said in a news release. Communities that apply for and receive public grant funding also may qualify to participate in Redzone’s new broadband funding program, it said.

“Communities across Maine have struggled to find a simple and efficient way(s) to improve broadband service delivery in their area that is fast and affordable, while minimizing municipal financial risk,” company CEO Jim McKenna said in the release. “We believe that this innovative model for funding municipal projects represents the first economically viable pathway for many of these small and mid-sized towns to get better internet service in the near term. Fixed wireless broadband can be installed in a few short months, and for a fraction of the cost of wireline alternatives.”

Despite multiple task forces, grants and even lawsuits pushing for better internet service, Maine consistently ranks near the bottom among the 50 states for its quality and availability of broadband internet service.

Lack of adequate service in rural communities is a big part of the problem, according to analysts. The reasons for Maine’s poor broadband infrastructure include the state’s vast rural areas, a lack of tax incentives for network improvement, the aging population and inadequate understanding of the benefits of high-speed internet access, state officials have said.


Government advocates for improvements to Maine’s broadband digital communications have said that relatively poor access to the internet is an impediment to creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy. Maine lacks many of the tax breaks and subsidies that other states offer for network improvements in areas where market forces alone don’t justify the required investment, they said.

“High speed internet is an absolute necessity for Maine communities in the 21st century, connecting our students to information and our businesses to opportunity,” U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, said in the Redzone release. “And in order to bridge the digital divide and expand broadband access across Maine, we need to work together across all levels of government and in partnership with the private sector to harness our combined resources and abilities. With this promising announcement, Redzone is demonstrating a commitment to our rural broadband infrastructure, to our local communities, and to the future of Maine.”

Dick Thompson, interim chairman of the ConnectME Authority, said his group’s ultimate goal is for businesses and individuals in Maine to have access to high-speed broadband wherever they live and work.

“Redzone continues to offer innovative solutions that serve that goal,” Thompson said. “Engaging and supporting municipalities is a sound investment that will further serve our rural population.”

The company said prospective municipal program applicants will be able to request qualification information, terms and an application directly from Redzone or learn more about the program online at As of press time, the web page was not yet live.

Launched in 2015, Redzone has said it plans to use 4G LTE, a wireless technology usually reserved for mobile devices, to offer broadband internet services to the vast majority of Maine homes and businesses.


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