Connect the Ready Grants
Connect the Ready is a competitive grants program that will encourage proactive partnerships and collaborative efforts to design, fund, and build broadband infrastructure projects in eligible areas.
The program will optimize broadband deployment to unserved locations and encourage projects that will expand universal broadband service throughout communities. In addition to proactive identification of eligible project areas, MCA will collaborate with applicants on the scope of projects and readiness of project partners.
Who is Eligible?
Public & private partners: internet service providers, or broadband utility districts, and other governmental entities that have chosen ISP partners.
During the Spring of 2023, Maine Connectivity Authority is working to refine the Connect the Ready program. With the feedback of previous applicants, partners, and contributors around the state, we are updating the program design to streamline the application and review process while ensuring that MCA can prioritize funding for the projects and areas of greatest need. The feedback process will run through the month of June and the next application window is slated to launch in early August.
Leading up to the application opening, MCA will also be working to provide potential applicants with assistance through information sessions, guidance documentation, file templates, and a how-to guide to ensure they are well-prepared for the application.
Connect the Ready Cohort 2
May 30: Draft Guidance Documentation is released
June 7: Guidance Feedback Information Session (watch the recording + download the slides)
June 27: Final Guidance Documentation is released
Early July: Additional application information, mapping, how-to guide released
Late July: Applicant Information Session #1
Early August: Application Opens
Mid-August: Applicant Information Session #2
Mid-September: Application Closes
Connect the Ready Cohort 1 Awards
These grants will help to fund 14 projects, covering 33 communities in nine counties. The projects will provide broadband service to more than 18,300 homes and businesses and will leverage over $20 million in private investment from communities and service providers. The current round of grants include:
$1,556,059 - Town of Abbot + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of Parkman, Guilford)
$966,912 - Town of Arrowsic + Axiom Technologies
$705,866 - Town of Bowerbank + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of Sebec)
$2,292,601 - Town of Bradford + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of Charleston)
$3,040,838 - Towns of Brooks and Waldo + Unitel/Direct Communication
$1,137,842 - Town of Clifton + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of Bradley, Eddington)
$2,569,094 - Town of Fayette + Matrix Design Group
$8,133,267 - Greater East Grand Economic Council + Consolidated Communications
(including portions of Danforth, Drew Plt, Glenwood Plt, Orient, Reed Plt, Weston)
$2,172,890 - Town of Greenville + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of Beaver Cove, Shirley, and the townships of Lily Bay and Frenchtown)
$8,827,148 - Town of Skowhegan + Consolidated Communications
(also including portions of Madison, Cornville, and Canaan)
$1,697,997 - Town of Swan’s Island + TDS Telecommunications
$2,229,396 - Town of Vienna + Axiom Technologies
$1,247,609 - Town of Willimantic + Premium Choice Broadband
(also covering portions of townships of Blanchard and Elliottsville)
$3,755,732 - Town of Wilton + Matrix Design Group
Who is eligible to apply?
Eligible applicants are ready public & private partners: internet service providers, or broadband utility districts, and other governmental entities that have chosen ISP partners, and projects occur in partnership with communities that are ready to be connected with the chosen solution as the proposed project. MCA will encourage communities to partner with private entities and will require private applicants to gain the support of their proposed communities. Applicants must submit a formal expression of support from the leadership of the affected communities, and a memorandum of understanding between the parties will be required as a condition of the award prior to receipt of grant funds.
Partnerships on proposed projects that involve locally-funded infrastructure will include an operations agreement that covers maintenance, future connections, and upgrades. This agreement can be submitted as part of the application or as a condition of the award prior to receipt of grant funds.
Applicants must also identify a point of contact for digital equity planning in the affected communities. Involved ISPs must meet eligibility requirements, including completion of annual required data filings.
MCA may allocate up to $20 million from the ARPA Capital Projects Fund for these grants. Depending on the outcome of the five-year Maine Broadband Master Plan, MCA may continue to fund the Connect the Ready Grants under the BEAD program.
How to Apply
The Connect the Ready application will be available in the MCA Grants Portal in August.