GWI Blog

Welcome to the GWI blog regarding telecommunications policy, rural broadband, and economic development in Maine and New England.

With Maine Broadband the Mirror Hurts. Look Anyway.

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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 it a money losing scenario for ISP’s to build out fiber networks on their own. It gets worse. In a follow up spot McKee and his fellow commentators compare Maine to third-world countries in terms of broadband speed: Being defensive won’t get us anywhere. I’ve lived in Maine all my life. It’s natural to want to come to the defense of our home, and it would be easy enough to find some ground to do … Continue reading

Is Municipal Fiber Really the REA of our Generation?

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  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 magneto telephone exchange.  The juxtaposition of old and new on the two ends of my drive speaks volumes about how far Maine has come technologically since the early 1980’s, even as our CEO’s paper on broadband capacity in Maine showed just how far we still have to go. Another interesting juxtaposition between early 20th century and 21st century technologies came from Susan Crawford’s remarks that day.  I captured the quote in this tweet: @scrawford “Electricity … Continue reading

Why Having a Different Definition of Broadband Hurts Maine

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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 term “broadband” is that it has never had a precise meaning. Since the quality and availability of broadband access is critical to moving Maine up the national broadband ladder – and consequently attracting more businesses to Maine – one of the first challenges is to determine a mutually beneficial definition for broadband. How can business owners, technology providers, policy makers and consumers tackle the issues if we’re not speaking the same language? Here’s how we … Continue reading

4 Reasons Why Maine Broadband Has Fallen Behind

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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, more expensive, and less available than all other states except Montana. Earlier this year, The Portland Press Herald published an article summarizing a study performed by Gizmodo, an online technology news site. Gizmodo reported that Ephrata, Washington is home to the fastest broadband download speeds in the nation, thanks to its own fiber optics provider. Kansas City, Kansas has the second fastest speeds thanks to Google Fiber, a fiber-to-the-premises service that Google intends to expand … Continue reading

3 Steps to Managing Spam in your Email Inbox

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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 the flow of promotional email into your mailbox. What is Spam? First of all, we need to have a common understanding of what email spam is.  Not all of the marketing email you get each day can correctly be called spam.  Another name for spam is Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE).  The key operator here is that the email must be Unsolicited. Very often, we subscribe to email lists to get products or services online.  Such … Continue reading

5 Things Most Businesses Shouldn’t Waste Backup Storage On

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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 and does not get backed up. This means you don’t have to have a one-size-fits-all policy for utilizing your backup storage. Instead, you can craft your own list of files your business should back up and exclude the ones you shouldn’t. The below list covers some key items you probably want to avoid backing up for most users, but with the right solution, you have the ability to make exceptions where appropriate. Software. Software takes a tremendous … Continue reading

6 Things Your Business Online Backup Should Protect

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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 strategy you have in place for what you should back up. Some businesses have zero tolerance for any missing files or data, while others don’t necessarily need to store everything. There are numerous factors that play into how much – and what – needs to be backed up. For example, some businesses may need to certify compliance with industry’s standards, which means your backup solution needs to ensure that all of your info is fully … Continue reading

RSU 29 Does Its Homework on Hosted PBX Phone Systems

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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 communications solution. The situation: In the fall of 2013, Kevin Kimball of RSU 29 was faced with the imminent return of 1300 students to a three building school system and three antiquated phone systems that were falling apart. The system was so outdated, in fact, that external vendors lacked expert technicians to support it and Kevin himself didn’t have the time or resources to upkeep existing systems due to all his other responsibilities. Kimball said, … Continue reading

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With Maine Broadband the Mirror Hurts. Look Anyway.
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