Bill that could expand rural cellphone coverage signed by Mills

A bill that could improve cellphone coverage in rural Maine by installing cellular base stations on state property was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills. The bill, LD 1603, directs the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to work with Network Maine and the ConnectME authority to develop a plan to expand cellular telephone service to underserved areas of the state. Network Maine is the state university system's broadband research and development unit and ConnectME is the state authority charged with expanding broadband access.

The bill as an economic driver got strong support from the Maine Association of Realtors. "Cellular phone coverage and broadband are enormous issues for home buyers," said Preti Flaherty attorney and lobbyist Andrew Cashman, who represents the organization and lobbied for the bill on their behalf. "Properties that lack either adequate cellular phone coverage or reliable broadband are at a significant disadvantage. Anything that can be done to improve cellular and broadband connections would be welcome" for homeowners and home buyers across the state. The bill will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.