About the Middle Mile

Today’s internet infrastructure is a patchwork of individual private networks. Existing networks were not created to maximize internet coverage throughout Maine. Investments over the last decade, through private investment and public initiatives like the Three Ring Binder, have been essential to expanding coverage. But the job is not done. Today, it is still too expensive and risky for private service providers to build out coverage in many parts of the state, especially in rural areas.

Strong middle-mile networks supported by the Maine Connectivity Authority can bridge this gap. Middle-mile networks will serve as digital highways that connect un- and under-served areas. Once built, these non-discriminatory, open-access middle-mile networks can be accessed by nearby local internet service providers, who can then directly connect to individual homes and businesses.

Better middle-mile networks will generate numerous benefits for the state of Maine:

  • Facilitate service from Broadband Utility Districts (BUDs), private internet providers, wireless carriers, public safety operators, and others to un- and under-served areas

  • Lower costs to provide better local internet service throughout Maine

  • Increase competition and eliminate competitive bottlenecks

  • Promote resiliency and avoid our internet being subject to single points of failure

To achieve this goal, the Maine Connectivity Authority will facilitate shared internet infrastructure throughout the state (e.g., middle mile fiber, data centers, points of presence, and internet exchange points). The Maine Connectivity Authority will explore numerous options to build and finance this state-of-the-art infrastructure, including through public investment and support, private partnerships, and other innovative strategies.