PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - One of the original players in an ambitious project to bring broadband internet access to rural communities says the project was never completed and it is now suing the company that constructed it and maintains it.
The Three Ring Binder project runs fiber optic cables 1100-miles, through 100-Maine communities. By connecting communities in rural areas internet providers can lease space on the binder and provide service to customers who are spread far away from each other.
In the lawsuit Biddeford based internet service provider GWI claims Maine Fiber Company did not provide enough off ramps on this fiber highway as specified under the application for grant money. GWI's CEO says this is a business dispute most people don't care about, except for the fact that millions of dollars of federal grant money was used to finance it.
"I can't stress how important this language is because it speaks directly to the purpose of the original federal grant, specific language about the on and off ramps of the highway that we allege are not finished", said GWI CEO Fletcher Kittredge.
The lawsuit names prominent Maine businessman Robert Monks Jr and his partner at Maine Fiber, Dwight Allison. Allison tells NEWS CENTER his company has been involved in an ongoing dispute with GWI over that companies failure to pay its lease fees for tapping into the binder. He says the two companies have been in mediation for 18-months.