OK, $25.4 million is a lot of money. It is more than I have on me just now.
And I have no idea where it will come from other than from all of our pockets and the pockets of generations to come.
But if the intent is righteous, it could be a huge economic lift for typically underserved rural communities.
First, there will be jobs, from manufacturing to installation to maintenance of the planned broadband system. Some will be immediate and some will be more sustained.
Second, the three rural regions – northern Maine, western Maine and Downeast – get broadband, which means hopefully faster and more dependable Internet connections to rural areas.
Third, entrepreneurial opportunities the likes of which Mainers in rural settings have never seen before are wide open. Small business owners can better research their market audience, order supplies, promote their products to a global client base, arrange for deliveries, chat in real time with customers around the world, make immediate shifts in manufacturing if necessary, and more. It levels the playing field in so many ways.
It is a lot of money and I very much hope the pricetag does not go the way of all things. The region needs this.