MCA's Middle Mile Initiative: MOOSE Net

What is middle mile?

Middle mile is the regional fiber optic infrastructure that enables last mile internet connectivity to homes, businesses, and other users at the local level. It is made up of high-capacity fiber that carries large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances and other telecommunications infrastructure (e.g. points of presence, community anchor institutions, etc.) that act as "off-ramps" that connect middle mile fiber to local networks that serve last mile connections to local homes and businesses. 

What is the problem?

Maine's existing internet infrastructure is a patchwork of individual private networks. The middle mile infrastructure supporting these networks was generally not created to support the goal of universal broadband access throughout the state. While public and private investments over the last decade, including notably the federally-funded Three Ring Binder, have added essential infrastructure to support this goal, the job is not done and too many areas of Maine remain un- or under-served. 

Introducing MOOSE Net!

Moose Net is a new strategic initiative created by the Maine Connectivity Authority to address these challenges. MCA recently joined with key partners and a proposed $53 million project to construct the Maine Online Optical Statewide Enabling Network (MOOSE Net). This proposal included a $30 million application for competitive funding from the National Telecommunications Information Administration's (NTIA) Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program.  

 

MOOSE Net covers 131 communities, representing over 11,000 unserved local businesses and residents. It will reach more than 200 community anchor institutions, including schools, hospitals, libraries, local government buildings, and civic centers.

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MOOSE Net’s expansion would deploy open-access fiber "highways" that provide an essential backbone network that would:

  • Facilitate affordable broadband access to thousands of households along the route.

  • Ensure Maine’s digital 21st-century infrastructure that businesses need to thrive and grow

  • Add resiliency to Maine’s internet networks, eliminating single points of failure

  • Connect community anchor institutions like schools, libraries and hopsitals

  • Achieve financial self-sufficiency and create a strong platform for future expansion

A Public & Private Section Partnership

To succeed in this effort, it is critical for MOOSE Net to build on strong relationships with both the public and private sector. Over the past six months, MCA has conducted more than 70 conversations with major carriers and other relevant stakeholders and collected data from more than 15 organizations as the route and proposal were developed.

The proposal was developed in collaboration with partners including NetworkMaine, the Maine Department of Transportation, Consolidated Communications, the University of Maine System, Maine OIT, and other leading statewide internet service providers and telecommunication companies. These partners are providing a mix of cash and in-kind support to best position MOOSE Net for success and rapid deployment.

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