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Dec 19, 2023

FirstLight Receives Federal Funds to Build More Maine Fiber

Funding will help provide Internet access to underserved communities in Western Maine

Albany, NY, Dec. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FirstLight, a leading provider of digital infrastructure services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, announced today that it has received federal funding through the Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) and the Partnerships Enabling Middle Mile Program to build fiber in the remainder of its Maine-based Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) territory over a five-year period.

FirstLight’s Maine ILEC encompasses parts of Western Maine, including Albany Township, Andover, Bethel, Bryant Pond, Buckfield, Canton, Hartford, Hebron, Locke Mills, Mason Township, Minot, Newry, North Norway, North Turner, Roxbury Pond, Sumner, Turner, Upton, West Bethel, West Paris, and Woodstock.

The Partnerships Enabling Middle Mile (PEMM) Program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Funds and addresses large-scale, regional broadband needs by leveraging middle mile infrastructure and maximizing private and community financial contributions to enable last-mile connections.

“We are pleased to participate in the Partnerships Enabling Middle Mile program and to partner with the MCA and the Mahoosuc Broadband Committee and towns in the Mahoosuc area to bring state of the art technology to Western Maine,” said Patrick Coughlin, FirstLight Chief Development Officer. “This is great news for the residents of these communities that currently don’t have access to the infrastructure necessary to take advantage of modern communications, telehealth, online education, and entertainment amenities. Reliable broadband is increasingly considered a necessary component in defining a livable community.”

FirstLight submitted a funding application earlier this year to help offset the cost of building fiber in its Maine residential ILEC territory. This is the second round of funding from the MCA. FirstLight partnered with the Mahoosuc Broadband Committee and the Town of Minot in its application process.

“The Mahoosuc Broadband Committeee, the communities of Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Woodstock, Albany, and Oxford County, are thrilled to know that their collective vision of universal, reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service will be realized by a very generous grant from the Maine Connectivity Authority to FirstLight,” said Mia Purcell, Vice President of Economic Development and Impact, Community Concepts Finance Corporation, representing the Mahoosuc Broadband Committee. “This will be a game changer for the future of the Mahoosuc area and the other towns in FirstLight’s service area as an attractive place to live, work and play.”

“This grant is a testament to the hard work and commitment of so many partners throughout the Mahoosuc region, including Maine West, Community Concepts Finance Inc, Northern Forest Center, Oxford County and all of the volunteers and town committees who have done the hard work to drive demand in one of Maine's most rural areas,” said Andrew Butcher, President, MCA.

FirstLight serves some of Maine’s largest educational, healthcare, government, and financial services institutions, as well as manufacturers and small businesses, providing low latency, symmetrical broadband. It also offers cloud, data center, and cybersecurity solutions to a growing number of Maine organizations.

FirstLight currently has nearly 4,000 fiber route miles in Maine and continues to expand its network. Its fiber network connects to the cable landing station in Halifax, Nova Scotia and traverses a unique route through the state and into Boston, Mass.

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