More than a handful

To the Editor:

We have been following the recent news stories, editorial and letters regarding the possibility of an extension of internet service to the Pretty Marsh community.

As seasonal residents, we recognize that we are less affected than our neighbors who are fortunate enough to live on MDI all year. However, the lack of broadband is a serious issue for us, too.

Not having adequate internet access means that we cannot do our jobs. One of us is a physician and one is a social worker, and we depend on the internet to stay in touch with our colleagues and to care for our patients. This electronic handicap also means that we and our family cannot use the internet for the many daily tasks and pleasures that most of us take for granted.

When we purchased our tiny home in 2010, it never occurred to us that we might still lack this basic service seven years later. We pay taxes to the town of Mount Desert and use very few services; that is true for almost all seasonal residents. We love the island and our town and surely do not object to paying our fair share for the common good. We do object to not having equal access to what has become universal throughout the country.

There are national initiatives to extend broadband service to rural areas, and we question why MDI could be left behind.

“E pluribus unum” is generally translated as “out of many, one.” This has been a guiding principle for our country since its birth. In this particular case, we acknowledge that requiring all Mount Desert taxpayers to help with the cost is unpopular. There may be ways to ask Pretty Marsh residents, especially those whose homes are well off the main roads, to pay more. That is fair. It is also fair and right to extend equality to all of our citizens.

More than 300 households is far more than, in the words of your editorial, “a handful of residents.”

We trust in the wisdom and values of our community.

Hester and Lowell Schnipper

Pretty Marsh

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