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Jan 23, 2023

$34M to boost broadband in 31 Maine communities

The Maine Connectivity Authority announced more than $34 million in grant funding to expand broadband access in 31 communities across the state.

Projects to expand broadband access in 31 rural communities across Maine will receive $34 million in funding, the Maine Connectivity Authority announced.

The 12 Connect the Ready grants are the single largest investment in Maine's broadband infrastructure to date and will provide high-speed wireless connectivity to more than 16,000 homes and businesses.

One of the dozen projects approved for funding, by the town of Skowhegan in collaboration with Consolidated Communications, will receive $8.8 million. The project also covers portions of Madison, Cornville and Canaan. (See the full list of approved projects and grant amounts below.)

A total of 29 grant applications seeking more than $102 million in funding were evaluated for the latest funding round. The competitive grants program was set up to encourage proactive partnerships and collaborative efforts to design, fund and build broadband infrastructure projects in eligible areas.

Andrew Butcher portrait
Andrew Butcher
The Maine Connectivity Authority, established in 2021 and led by Andrew Butcher, is a quasi-government organization tasked with achieving universal access to affordable high-speed broadband in Maine.

"There is an overwhelming demand for support to improve connectivity in Maine. Today, we are taking an important step to expand access, but there is much work to do,” Butcher said in a Friday news release. “The projects that will receive grant awards today were those that are best-positioned to move forward in areas of greatest need."

Connect the Ready is part of the comprehensive suite of the Maine Connectivity Authority's All-In Programs, which are funded by a $150 million allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund and the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program.

The agency plans to announce a second round of awards later this year, and Butcher said his organization looks forward to working with applicants to strengthen their proposals.

"The interest in this program is amazing," he noted. "Communities are engaged and working hard to serve their residents and local businesses.”

Approved projects and grant amounts
$1,556,059 for Abbot and Premium Choice Broadband (includes parts of Parkman and Guilford)
$966,912 for Arrowsic and Axiom Technologies
$705,866 for Bowerbank and Premium Choice Broadband (also covers parts of Sebec)
$2,292,601 for Bradford and Premium Choice Broadband (also covering portions of Charleston)
$3,040,838 for Brooks and Waldo and Unitel/Direct Communication
$1,137,842 for Clifton and Premium Choice Broadband (also covering portions of Bradley, Eddington)
$8,133,267 for the Greater East Grand Economic Council and Consolidated Communications (including portions of Danforth, Drew Plantation, Glenwood Plantation, Orient, Reed Plantation and Weston)
$2,172,890 for Greenville and Premium Choice Broadband (also covering portions of Beaver Cove, Shirley and the unorganized townships of Lily Bay and Frenchtown)
$8,827,148 for Skowhegan and Consolidated Communications (also including portions of Madison, Cornville and Canaan)
$1,697,997 for Swan’s Island and TDS Telecommunications
$2,229,396 for Vienna and Axiom Technologies
$1,247,609 for Willimantic and Premium Choice Broadband (also covering portions of Blanchard and Elliottsville townships)
Additional information is available here.

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