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Jun 26, 2023

Hundreds of millions of dollars coming to Maine to improve high speed internet

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - More than a quarter of a billion dollars is heading to Maine to improve high speed internet infrastructure.

It’s the largest federal investment for broadband expansion the state has ever received.

The $272 million comes from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment, or BEAD, program and is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

This will allow the Maine Connectivity Authority to continue its work to get reliable internet to rural parts of the state.

Officials say more than 42,000 Maine homes and small businesses currently lack access to a high-speed internet connection.

“This is really just the beginning, right? This is just the starting gate. It will inform a significant amount of our strategy and our approach to addressing the digital divide in Maine. And so obviously, it’s a it’s an incredible opportunity. But we will have to do what Mainers do, which is be creative and resourceful and resilient and stretching the funds as far as possible. These funds will do a significant amount to address the digital divide in Maine,” said Andrew Butcher, Maine Connectivity Authority president.

The funding will be spread out over five years.

There is a formal announcement press conference set for Thursday in Augusta with Gov. Janet Mills and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, among the expected attendees.

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