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Aug 18, 2023

Maine Submitted its BEAD 5-Year Action Plan to the NTIA

Maine is one of the first states to submit its plan to the NTIA, following Delaware.

WASHINGTON, August 18, 2023 – On Friday, Maine submitted its 5-year broadband action plan to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration following a public comment period with closed in June.

The plan is the state’s next step to get access to the $272 million awarded through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program as announced in June. The NTIA requires that states submit a 5-year action plan that dictates how the state will use the money, a digital equity plan, an initial proposal and a final proposal for subgrant processes.

The plan outlines priorities for investment in broadband and serves as the state’s “road map to bring the economic, health, education, and social benefits of high-speed internet to all Mainers,” read the plan.

According to the plan, the state will prioritize expanding a data-driven transparent approach to broadband, grow and strengthen the ecosystem by nurturing relationships and collaboration with partners and residents, and leverage networks of opportunity. It will outlined its plan to leverage other capital sources with federal investments and “shout it from the rooftops,” but telling stories about the benefits of digital inclusion.

Included in the plan are steps to prioritize investment impact through a broadband mapping and analysis platform, lead the state’s interagency broadband working group to coordinate broadband implementation with climate resilience and affordable housing among other state-wide initiatives, and establish a connectivity hubs program to support education, workforce and telehealth programming.

According to the NTIA’s website, Delaware is the only other state that has submitted its five-year action plan to the administration. Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Vermont have all released five-year action plan drafts for public comment.

Maine’s digital equity plan will be submitted on September 1 after the editing process, read the press release. Currently, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming have released digital equity plans for public comment.

Maine’s initial proposal, which includes the identification of unserved and underserved locations, community anchor institutions, grant award process, and proposed challenge process will be submitted to the NTIA in December, said the state. Once initial proposals are approved by the administration, states will have access to at least 20 percent of allocated funds.

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