As its largest city, Portland is the hub of business activity in Maine. Its natural deep water port rivals Boston, New York and Philadelphia for cargo and oil shipments. The City is known for its wide array of fine restaurants and the charm of the Old Port has put Portland on several Best Cities list. The highly desirable Old Port District is located along well recognized streets which are some of the best locations for local and national retailers as well as businesses with its high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The biggest draw to this region is probably the area's mix of retailers and companies looking for a charming New England setting along Portland's waterfront.
Portland is the center of the Greater Portland Region located in Maine's Cumberland County. Throughout the 1990's, Cumberland County experienced steady population growth that contributed to the area's status as one of Northern New England's leading urban centers. The population of Cumberland County has grown by approximately 12.5% between 1980 and 1990 and has increased by 9.6% since 1990. Greater Portland alone accounts for more than 20% of the entire state's population. The Cumberland County's per capita income not only continues to be Maine's highest, but also exceeds the nation's average by more than 8%.
Portland has a diversified economy with the ability to support a wide range of industries, including retail, service, government and manufacturing. Maine is a national leader in advanced telecommunications, with Portland serving as its hub. As a result, call centers, back office operations, software developers and other telecommunications businesses are growing in the Portland area at an astounding rate. Maine is the first state in the U.S. to have a statewide ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) fiber-optic based network. Maine is also one of the first states with a 100% digitally switched network and the first to have every school and library linked via Frame Relay Service. According to FCC service quality data, Maine ranks among the highest in service and reliability ratings in the country. Maine's telephone companies offer the most advanced services available, including Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Maine also has the distinction of being one of the most "NEXUS friendly" states in the U.S. Maine's telecommunications infrastructure has placed it in the center of the global marketplace.
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