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I applaud Edward French's recent editorial that expressed his thoughts and speculations about aiding Eastport's economic development by galvanizing some community focus towards attracting more remote workers.  In my own experience with this, my wife Manuela and I have been running our full time IT consultation business successfully here for about 4 years and we have been quite happy and grateful to have moved here and rooted ourselves among this vibrant and multifaceted community.

To be quite honest, we were at best treading water in our previous home in NJ.  The cost of living in the NY metro area is beyond insane.  We found that the combination of gorgeous natural scenery, a feisty, eclectic and world class arts scene, a rugged working waterfront and a house we could actually afford were compelling reasons to make the move.  Though we certainly do sorely miss family and friends at times, we have no regrets about moving here or the incredible life we are developing. 
However, I don't especially see Eastport as being an ideal location for single, young people - though some do love it..  I see Eastport as being most appealing to young families looking to take root in and contribute to a community with incredible potential.  Young families buying and renovating homes, shopping and recreating locally, and participating in education here would be a tremendous gain to our local economy and social fabric.
Furthermore, as much as we need to highlight the attractive aspects of life here to prospective remote workers, it also needs to make sense to the employers of said prospective telecommuters.  My own testimonial in applying a winning argument in favor of this would be to inform prospective employers about the time during Hurricane Sandy when our major label media client in Manhattan was unable to operate for over a week during the storm and it's subsequent repercussions.  While they were down for the count, our modest team here in Eastport was able to leverage the difference in our geography towards our client's well being and enable some core IS&T operations to trickle through our modest home office.  Basically a DSL connection, two laptops and  a generator in the shed, saved the back end of a huge record company during a monumental weather crisis in NYC.
Subsequently, our relocation is now proven as a prudent tactical and logistical advantage to our clients - a key selling point.  In fact Eastport would be an ideal location to have a technical support/customer service center that could not only attract new people to the area but also provide employment and training opportunities for the existing population.  These types of call centers usually operate 24/7 to deal with a global customer base.  Eastport has a workforce that is often accustomed to working several part time jobs to make ends meet and often at non typical US business hours.  There is a huge variety of people that would benefit from additional and flexible work opportunities in entry level technology oriented positions.
Anyway, I think this is terrific idea and I just wanted to weigh in on some initial thoughts that have come to mind after reading the editorial.  I look forward to seeing how things evolve.  Thank you for initiating and promoting this train of thought.
Best Regards,
Colie Brice
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  • There was a meeting yesterday at Shead about creating a broadband plan for Eastport.  Representatives of Fairpoint and Axiom Technologies of Machias were there.  There is a short deadline, but I think something will make it so that some funding can be obtained in 2017, if we are lucky.  Fairpoint is upgrading the central office hoping to get DSL even faster in the area.  They hope to make a map, basically showing the maximum speed of the internet in various areas.  Some people have only 1.5mb service.  Certain areas, such as where I live are very lucky as I maintain about 30mb and can reach 40 at certain times.  Your post is right on the money as to what was discussed in the meeting.  Elaine Abbott as well as several business people and some residents were present.  It was a very productive meeting.  Planning for the future was a major point of discussion.

    • Cool.  Yes I had a meeting with Elaine on Friday and offered some insights as well.

    • Axiom Technologies is working with Fairpoint to get a detailed map of service in our area. 

    • GREAT NEWS!

    • I asked the Fairpoint representative his reaction to a 100 person call center in Eastport.  How would Fairpoint handle it, and a time frame for having everything in place.  He said it would be great news, but also admitted (almost silently) that it would be a challenge to get the infrastructure in place.  That's what the meeting was about, essentially, getting Eastport ready for more work at home people.  In fact one of my neighbors works out of their home, and a friend's wife does too.  Glad you had a meeting with Elaine.  Every journey begins with a first step.

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