A Biddeford-based Internet service provider says many of its Maine customers will see their connection speeds increase after a two-month upgrade.

A news release from GWI said the upgrade process began Friday and will take approximately 60 days to take full effect everywhere their service is available.

Fletcher Kittredge, GWI’s chief executive officer, said the upgrades have been planned for about a year and that many customers will see faster speeds before the two-month deadline.

“Talking to the engineers at GWI, we have a bunch of equipment with that capacity,” he said. “It’s already hitting customers right away.”

All of the announced changes come at no cost increase. Some customers will see price reductions for maximum bandwidth speeds twice as high or similar to what they’re receiving now.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over a given period of time. It is usually measured in megabits per second, Mbps.

According to a release from GWI, customers on the company’s basic broadband service, one of five home plans, which costs $39.95 per month for a maximum of 3 Mbps, will have access to Internet speeds of 7 Mbps.

Kittredge was one of the leaders of setting in motion a 1,100-mile fiber network known as the Three Ring Binder, slated for completion at 2012’s end.

He said though this GWI project is unrelated to that project, it serves the same purpose: fostering business.

“We hope that this is just an initial move with an existing network,” Kittredge said. “We’re hoping this will help economic development everywhere in Maine.”

In May, the Kennebec Journal fielded complaints about Time Warner Cable’s Roadrunner Turbo service, an add-on touted as boosting maximum speeds. Kittredge said speeds can vary — and often can’t be controlled.

“Our product is distance-sensitive,” Kittredge said. “Most people will get the 7 megabits. Some won’t, but everyone’s speeds should be faster.”

A bill signed into law by then-Gov. John Baldacci in 2010 used more than $25 million in federal dollars and millions in private capital to build the Three Ring Binder line, which would provide telecommunication companies the infrastructure to deliver service to far-reaching portions of rural Maine.

A study released June 20 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maine No. 1 in the nation for infrastructure, citing that project as the main reason.

Four pieces of the project have been completed, according to the Maine Fiber Company’s website — stretches from Portland to Brunswick, Bangor to Orono, Orient to Hodgdon and Ellsworth to the end of Mount Desert Island.

Michael Shepherd — 621-5662

[email protected]

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