High Speed Broadband is Coming to Caribou

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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Caribou has now began the process of establishing their own Broadband Utility following approval from the Maine Legislature. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.

“The challenge was doing something that no other water or wastewater utility had done before”

Hugh Kirkpatrick, General Manager for Caribou Utilities District says many residents of Caribou struggle with getting access to high speed internet.

“Over 1300 miles of Dark Fiber Optic Cable was constructed throughout Maine over 10 years ago, it travels through Caribou, however since then there is limited access for any customers to connect to this highspeed broadband service. Private telecom companies in the region have not demonstrated an interest in expanding this infrastructure.”

Kirkpatrick, Caribou Utilities District and the City of Caribou brought LD 1949 or An Act To Amend the Caribou Utilities District Charter To Include Broadband Services before the legislature, which allows the Caribou Utilities District to provide fiber broadband services to anyone in the City.

“The biggest advantage for the District to get involved is really to get it built to the last mile, to get the entire community service. There’ll be a single strand of fiber optic cable between every resident, business, government entity, so everybody gets their own strand of fiber. Caribou will never have to build another fiber optic network again.”

The bill passed and was signed into law by the Governor earlier this year, meaning Caribou must now begin the process of establishing and funding a division of the Caribou Utilities District dedicated to the city’s broadband goals.

“The real challenge begins now trying to come up with grant money, other partners in the city, and then of course all the supply chain issues that every other industry is seeing”

Kirkpatrick went on to say that the District is around a year from starting on the project, and around 3 to 5 years before fiber is available city wide, but Kirkpatrick feels a sense of relief, knowing that it’s not IF caribou will get broadband, it’s WHEN.

Brian Bouchard, Newssource8

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