Left behind

To the Editor:

We take great issue with the Islander’s recent editorial, “A question of fairness.” It makes the statement that it is unfair to ask the general population of the town of Mount Desert to help pay for the extension of internet service to Pretty Marsh.

The first point is that Pretty Marsh residents somehow got a price break when buying property because there is no internet offered. Many families have owned their houses for decades and/or generations, long before one could have imagined something like the internet.

We doubt very strongly that any of us are getting a reduction in our tax assessments due to the lack of access to broadband. Many summer residents have homes on the water and pay huge taxes while taking advantage of few, if any, town services. If the town brought internet to these waterfront summer residences, it might actually be the first time they benefited directly from the taxes they pay as they put very little burden on the town.

We purchased our house in 1984. Even though it was out in Pretty Marsh, it came equipped with electricity, telephone service, paved roads and access to public schools, including transportation to and from. Who knew then that the coming technological revolution would leave us in the woods, literally and figuratively, as cable, phone and wireless internet providers were allowed to cherry pick the most profitable parts of the town while ignoring the rest of us.

Some villages can choose between three providers while we still have none.

The editorial states that more than 300 households might benefit from this expansion. We believe this is more accurate than your last statement where you say, “meanwhile, at town meeting, voters will weigh the appropriateness of requiring all taxpayers to pick up the debt service for the extension of broadband internet to a handful of residents.” We think 300 is an awfully large handful.

Currently, we are being left behind while the rest of the town improves their digital literacy. There is so much we cannot do: take online classes, conduct research, file our taxes, stream movies, Skype with family, read the Islander online. It is time we were treated as if we are part of the town, which we are.

Jay and Candy Emlen

Pretty Marsh, Mount Desert

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