On Friday one of the more interesting stimulus projects got completed way up in northern New England. The Maine Fiber Company has finished construction of the ’3 Ring Binder’ project, hooking up those everpresent anchor institutions across the state.
There had been objections from FairPoint Communications (news, filings) about unfair federally-funded competition, but Fairpoint wasn’t in the strongest of positions at the time to make the case that it should be the one to take care of the job and the state legislature didn’t listen. So now Maine has its 1,100 route mile open-access middle mile fiber in place, and alternative providers are already moving to take advantage.
There are already 12 customers leasing fiber with another 29 contracts in the wings. Of the initial twelve customers, GWI, Oxford Networks, Pioneer Broadband, Axion Technologies, and the University of Maine. Multiple wireless carriers are using it for cellular backhaul. Of the 600 anchor institutions originally mentioned, 80 anchor institutions are already connected along with 50 commercial locations. Lots of work yet to do though.