Fiber Drive Team

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Trevor Jones

The first kernel of our gigabit fiber to the home network in South Portland was created when South Portland’s IT Director Chris Dumais wrote an RFP for a network he needed to connect city buildings and asked that bidders connect homes and businesses along the way. We’re very excited to make this network available to South Portland residents, but the first phase of the network is really small and we need to connect customers really …
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Posted on November 5, 2014 by Trevor Jones

There is much excitement about the recent announcements by Rockport and South Portland that the two cities will be deploying 1 gigabit per second municipal broadband networks to homes. Not surprisingly, there is also anger and frustration from certain quarters – most especially the incumbent ISP’s who have little to gain and much to lose from the market entry of a competing network. These large corporations have successfully employed a number of arguments to slow …
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Posted on October 16, 2014 by Trevor Jones

If you follow next-generation broadband communications at all, you’re familiar with places like Kansas City, Chattanooga and San Antonio. These were some of the first cities in our country to get gigabit speeds into homes either with the help of Google Fiber or through direct municipal investment. These cities are part of a group gathering on Monday to discuss next-generation broadband availability that includes tech industry hubs like Boston, Massachusetts, Palo Alto, California and Santa …
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Posted on October 2, 2014 by Trevor Jones

Our first phase of building our municipal fiber to the home in South Portland started, not as the economic development issue it eventually became, but as a basic IT requirement.  Chris Dumais, the City’s IT Director was faced with increasing costs for the dark fiber network that connects key city buildings, and he figured one up-front payment to lease a new network over the long term would save money over the long term.  He put …
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Posted on September 19, 2014 by Trevor Jones

This week Fletcher and I attended the Community Fiber Networks conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. Community leaders throughout New England came together there to talk about the impact of better broadband to community development, share experiences in deploying networks, and discuss important policy issues around broadband deployments. During a panel discussion yesterday, FCC Special Counsel for External Affairs Gigi Sohn made a remarkable statement that I shared on Twitter: @GigiBSohnFCC “The next six months are going …
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Posted on September 6, 2014 by Trevor Jones

One of this week’s memorable moments came on Wednesday morning, as I watched Bloomberg TV’s two spots on Maine broadband with considerably mixed emotions. Bloomberg reporter Michael McKee doesn’t pull any punches. As you can see from this spot, he contrasts the 150 megabits per second available bandwidth in New York City to our statewide average of 9 megabits per second here in Maine and explains how our challenges of population density and geography make …
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Posted on August 28, 2014 by Trevor Jones

  Two weeks ago, I took time out from a vacation camping in Western Maine to travel to Rockport for the announcement of the new gigabit fiber to the home network we helped deploy there. It was only much later, today in fact, that it occurred to me that I started my journey to launch Maine’s first gigabit municipal fiber to the home network in Bryant Pond – the home of the nation’s last hand-cranked …
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Posted on August 21, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

Today, Maine faces challenges with its broadband being significantly inferior to 48 other U.S. States. While our broadband isn’t deteriorating, the rest of the country is developing superior broadband solutions at a far faster rate. This has a lasting negative impact on Maine’s economy. In the early 2000’s, the term “broadband” became the common definition for Internet access that was faster, more reliable and had better quality of service than dial-up. The problem with the …
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Posted on August 14, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

Maine is severely disadvantaged when it comes to broadband. As a provider of broadband Internet access, we care about the impact of broadband on Maine’s economy. We care so much, we’re willing to shine a light on the state of broadband. The situation is disheartening and demands attention. Did you know that one recent study showed 49 other states have broadband services that are superior to what Maine offers? It found Maine’s broadband significantly slower, …
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Posted on July 31, 2014 by Trevor Jones

Recently, we migrated both our customer email and our internal email platform to new services. This resulted in a temporary surge in spam in my own inbox and a rise in questions from customers on the GWI Facebook page about managing spam in their inbox. Now that my spam filters are working well again and I’m spending less time managing spam manually, I thought it was time to share a few tips on effectively controlling …
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Posted on July 9, 2014 by Trevor Jones

These days, business IT budgets are more squeezed than ever, and being efficient is vital. One area you can save money without sacrificing the security of the business is by properly managing your backup storage so that you aren’t wasting resources protecting files that don’t have business value. A good online backup solution will allow you to define your backup sets at the individual PC level so you have the ability to specify what does …
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Posted on July 2, 2014 by Trevor Jones

Imagine arriving at the office, only to discover that your computer is down or damaged and critical data is unavailable or missing. If you have an online backup plan in place, go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that your most important files and data are available in the cloud to be restored. The next worrisome question is: how much will you be able to restore? This all depends upon the back up …
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Posted on June 18, 2014 by Trevor Jones

RSU 29 in Houlton is an education community that includes three school buildings, elementary through high school. With a mission of “encouraging growth, high aspirations, and quality standards for students and staff,” the school district recently invested in updating its phone systems to a GWI Hosted PBX system. GWI and its premier partner Caleidoscope Communications teamed up with the school’s technology coordinator, Kevin Kimball, to help this northern Maine school system transition to a cutting-edge …
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Posted on May 22, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

Broadband deployment in Maine has been hampered by a number of factors, including geography, topography and money. There are bigger factors at work, though and we should take a step back and look at the big picture. There is a deep underlying reality that is going to shape our futures. Great historic forces are at work in the area of network connectivity and we all need to align ourselves with those forces or be swept …
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Posted on May 7, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

It is a truism that network reliability comes from people, not equipment. The obvious reason is that since people design the network, they need to get the design right to have it be reliable. The often overlooked reason is that  networks exist in a dynamically changing world and must adapt, and people direct that adaptation. Some networks have limited change. Envision a network with a static number of connections, a steady data load and no …
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Posted on April 23, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

We’re continuing our series of posts on common techniques for building reliable data networks. Last week, we discussed three pitfalls that cause businesses to fail at building reliable networks through route diversity. This week, we’re going to build on this with an overview of the potential issues that arise when evaluating equipment redundancy. To recap, here are the three pitfalls again: Cost. Often companies and consumers can’t afford to double their costs, which may be …
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Posted on April 18, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

In our last post, I discussed why redundancy / route diversity is the fundamental tool for building reliable networks. In this entry, I am going to go over some of the pitfalls of building redundant networks and how to avoid them. The first major pitfall is cost. The simplest way to build redundancy is to duplicate the entire network and its operations, thus doubling the cost of connections. This works, but often companies and consumers …
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Posted on April 10, 2014 by Fletcher Kittredge

Technology professionals, from in-house IT Directors to technology vendors, frequently talk about “reliability” and network “redundancy.” These terms may sound like jargon that only techies need to understand. However, every day, businesses and organizations across all industries become more and more dependent upon their networks. Customer information, industry data, time-sensitive communications and relationships with customers, vendors and employees – the day-to-day necessities of conducting business – all hinge upon building a reliable data network for …
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Posted on April 2, 2014 by Trevor Jones

Did you know that 97% of employers in Maine are small companies? Today’s small business leaders were once budding entrepreneurs themselves, with great ideas that eventually became successful products and services, and companies that now employ people, and help our economy grow. At GWI, we feel strongly about supporting our local and statewide economy, which is why we’re proud to once again sponsor Build-A-Biz Day, making this our third consecutive year supporting youth entrepreneurship education …
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Posted on March 19, 2014 by GWI

Houlton Regional Hospital is a 25-bed acute care facility serving several communities in northern Maine and employing 450 professionals. GWI teamed up with the hospital’s maintenance manager, Bart Peters, to help them update their antiquated business phone service and bring a fiber optic network to part of Houlton’s business district. The Situation: After acquiring several private physician practices over nearly a decade (a trend within the healthcare industry focused on integration and patient service), Houlton …
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