Maine Broadband Service Leads to High Ranking for Maine from U.S. Chamber of Commerce
At the end of June, 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the National Chamber Foundation, produced a study titled “Enterprising States: Recovery and Renewal for the 21st Century.” The study depicts reasoning behind why certain states are more attractive for economic expansion efforts and migration. It highlights state-run efforts to attract more enterprise and what each state is doing to aid in the forward progression of the economy during a time of recession.
In the study, the U.S. Chamber and the National Chamber Foundation break out each state’s national ranking on topics such as median family income, budget gap, job placement efficiency, and business-friendly infrastructure. Where does Maine rank in all of this? Well, according to the report, Maine is currently 25th in higher-education efficiency, 20th in per capita income growth, and 19th in job placement efficiency. Though we are not at the bottom of the barrel, these are recurring issues that has often plagued the Pine Tree State. However, there is a positive as Maine ranked number one in a highly important and growing sector: infrastructure, and in particular, broadband service.
Infrastructure plays a crucial role in the economic advancement of any state. According to the study, basic infrastructure to encourage economic growth and stability are airports, harbors, utility distribution systems, railways, and communications networks, to name a few. The U.S. Chamber came up with infrastructure rankings by measuring the following factors:
- Share of high-speed internet telecommunication lines
- Share census tracts with high broadband penetration
- The U.S. Chamber’s state transportation infrastructure performance index
Directly referencing the Three Ring Binder as one of the primary factors for this ranking, Maine placed in the top ten in all three infrastructure measures, coming in at number one in high speed broadband intensity and number seven in high speed broadband availability.
The importance of broadband service in Maine and the development of highly reliable telecommunications infrastructure can not be understated. Many liken the importance of the current economic growth through broadband expansion to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the late 19th century or construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 20th century. Numerous states across the nation are now developing broadband expansion initiatives and investing heavily in its infrastructure. Here in Maine, the Three Ring Binder was one of the first BTOP grants awarded and is a large reason as to why Maine currently sits atop the national pedestal in business-friendly infrastructure.