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Opinion
Susan P Crawford

How Maine Saved the Internet

Free, locally owned fiber networks can help keep jobs in small-town America.
Don't mix up the fishing lines with the fiber.
Don't mix up the fishing lines with the fiber.

Rockport, Maine, population 3,321, is trying to solve the existential dilemma of small-town America: How do you get people like Meg Weston's students to stick around?

Weston is the president of Maine Media Workshops + College, one of Rockport's primary economic drivers. When she took office in 2012, she saw that the college couldn't survive without a better Internet connection. Her students needed to upload and download enormous digital files using three or more devices each; she says the school hit a wall with its existing communications capacity.