OTELCO First to Make 10 GIG Broadband Service Available in Northern and Eastern Maine

Two iconic Maine companies, Woodland Pulp LLC and Jasper Wyman & Son and new enterprise, St. Croix Tissue Inc. sign-up for secure, redundant, high-speed connection and cutting edge services

(New Gloucester, ME) – Maine-based OTELCO, a division of Otelco Inc., announced today that it is the first company to bring 10 gigabits per second of Internet connectivity to the full northern ring of Maine Fiber Company’s Three Ring Binder network. It has already signed two iconic, major Maine companies – Woodland Pulp LLC and Jasper Wyman & Son as well as the new enterprise St. Croix Tissue, Inc. – to grow their business using the high-speed service.

Three Ring Binder Northern Ring

The Northern Ring of the Three Ring Binder (in blue).

“Our company was formed by rural Mainers over 100 years ago when the major phone companies were uninterested in bringing the latest technology, then the telephone, to rural communities,” said Biddeford, Maine native and Otelco CEO Rob Souza.  “OTELCO’s investment to bring 10 gigabits per second of capacity to the full Northern Ring will foster our efforts to bring the very latest in communications and cloud services to the 77 rural Maine communities the Three Ring Binder connects in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancock and Washington counties.  This initiative demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making sure rural communities and businesses have the technology they need to compete and win in today’s economy.”

“We congratulate OTELCO for being a first-mover when it comes to bringing 10 gigabits to the entire northern ring of our network,” said Jeff McCarthy, Vice President of Business Development at Maine Fiber Company.  “Maine Fiber Company’s high capacity, all-fiber network is available to any carrier or service provider on an open-access, non-discriminatory basis.  Our goal is for our network to be part of the solution that helps expand true broadband and economic opportunity to all Maine communities.  OTELCO’s commitment and investment in lighting 10 gigabits around the full northern ring is an important step and provides exciting new opportunities for communities and businesses in rural, northern and eastern Maine.”

Maine Fiber Company’s network is what is called “dark fiber” meaning that it owns the fiber-optic infrastructure, but does not actually provide services to residential or commercial end users.  Under the agreement announced today, OTELCO is paying to lease and “light” fiber to provide services to end users all along the route and to have the capacity to expand services into new areas.  Three rural Maine employers have already signed up with OTELCO to tap into the network’s 10 gigabit capacity and the latest commercial and cloud services.

“We are proud to welcome three great companies – Woodland Pulp LLC, St. Croix Tissue, Inc. and Jasper Wyman & Son, as OTELCO customers,” said Bob Froberg, Director of Commercial and Wholesale Sales at OTELCO.  “We expect many other business and IT leaders in the region will be very interested in access to 10 gigabit speeds and high-end business services these improvements will allow. More importantly the network security and redundancy that lighting the entire upper ring provides will greatly enhance network reliability for those businesses. If a car or storm takes out a telephone pole in one direction on the ring, data can be instantly and securely routed in the other direction without any interruption in service.”

Woodland Pulp and St. Croix Tissue

Woodland Pulp and St Croix Tissue’s Mill in Baileyville.

“Our two mills Woodland Pulp LLC and St. Croix Tissue Inc. are very excited to be able to access world class future proof fiber to provide the necessary bandwidth that is crucial to our businesses now and into the future.  We hope OTELCO’s venture into our area will be the catalyst to bring these super fast future proof fiber connections to other local businesses and consumers,” said Dan Sullivan, IT Manager at Woodland Pulp LLC and St. Croix Tissue, Inc. “With increasing frequency, remote support from our personal residences has become critical in supporting our 24X7 manufacturing operations.  It is essential to our business survival for our combined 400 employees to have these same connections that we now enjoy in the mills at their homes.  Thank you to OTELCO for bringing our area into the 21st century and beyond.”

“We are excited that OTELCO is bringing 10 gigabit broadband speed to some of the most rural parts of Maine.  The success and competitiveness of modern forestry and farming industries depends on having immediate, continuous access to sophisticated technologies and data.  Having 10 gigabit speeds available will also open up opportunities to grow and attract other businesses and jobs. This is a positive step for the Aroostook County economy,” said Theresa Fowler, executive director at the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce.

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About Otelco

Otelco Inc. provides wireline telecommunications services in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia.  The Company’s services include local and long distance telephone, digital high-speed data lines, transport services, network access, cable television and other related services.  With approximately 99,000 voice and data access lines, which are collectively referred to as access line equivalents, Otelco is among the top 25 largest local exchange carriers in the United States based on number of access lines.  Otelco operates eleven incumbent telephone companies serving rural markets, or rural local exchange carriers.  It also provides competitive retail and wholesale communications services and technology consulting, managed services and private/hybrid cloud hosting services through several subsidiaries.  For more information, visit the Company’s website at www.OtelcoInc.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not statements of historical or current fact constitute forward-looking statements.  Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other unknown factors that could cause the actual results of the Company to be materially different from the historical results, or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  In addition to statements, which explicitly describe such risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to consider statements labeled with the terms “believes”, “belief”, “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans”, or similar terms to be uncertain and forward-looking.  The forward-looking statements contained herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are described from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.