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Dec 6, 2022

Press Release: Maine Connectivity Authority Announces $4 Million of Awards to 26 Communities, Regional and Tribal Groups

Competitive grant awards will provide technical assistance and organizational capacity

AUGUSTA, ME – On Friday, December 2, the Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) announced 26 awards totaling more than $4 million in funding and support to community, regional and tribal organizations through the Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners and Get Ready Community Support programs. These initiatives will support community-driven broadband solutions that ensure universal connectivity, strengthen and grow the number of partners thinking about digital equity and inclusion, and create increased alignment and coordination between communities, regions, and the state. Both programs are funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program and are part of MCA’s All-In Program that will bring high-speed broadband to over 30,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas.

On Thursday, December 8 at 11 am, Alan Davidson, the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Assistant Secretary of the Department of Commerce, will join MCA for a press event at Thomas College, where the regional & tribal award recipients will be recognized. Please see the media advisory for the invitation-only event here.

Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners

The Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners Program will help deploy, sustain and maximize the benefits of broadband infrastructure investment in all state regions. Each partner will build and lead digital inclusion efforts in each of their regions and tribes while also providing support for community and regional-scale broadband infrastructure solutions and investments.

"SCEC is excited to see this significant investment in Washington County,” said Charles Rudelitch, Executive Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council. “People here need accessible, affordable high-speed internet access, and this investment is an important step in building the networks that will allow Washington County residents to realize the educational, economic, health and other important benefits that high-speed internet can provide.”

The Fall 2022 award recipients include the following regional and tribal entities:

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments ($153,078)
Eastern Maine Development Corporation ($250,000)
Four Directions Development Corporation ($250,000)
Greater Franklin Development Council ($215,743)
Greater Portland Council of Governments ($250,000)
GrowSmart Maine ($183,400)
Island Institute ($250,000)
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission ($234,420)
Northern Forest Center ($246,081)
Northern Maine Development Commission ($250,000)
Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission ($249,567)
Somerset Economic Development ($209,500)
Sunrise County Economic Council ($203,373)

“Investing in staffing and capacity to support broadband and digital inclusion will ensure that the true impact of this generational investment in universal connectivity will be felt by all people and communities in Maine,” said Maggie Drummond-Bahl, MCA’s Strategic Partnership Director.

The regional and tribal partners will receive funding and support from the MCA in partnership with the Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC) and National Digital Equity Center (NDEC). This program will offer a two-year funding commitment with a maximum of $500,000. The awards listed above include funding for the program's first year.

Get Ready Community Support

The Get Ready Community Support program will invest $1 million in accelerated community broadband planning at a regional scale through tailored technical assistance and the coordination of multiple professional service providers to support participants. Through this approach, MCA aims to make the planning process more efficient and to build a pipeline of private-public partnerships ready to leverage and accelerate future deployment of statewide broadband funding.

“The pandemic has taught us that high-speed connectivity is crucial for education, commerce, telehealth and dealing with isolation,” said Greene resident Carl Bucciantini. “Our Broadband Committee is excited to be awarded this grant which will help identify the need and chart a path to high-speed, affordable internet access for all residents.”

The Fall 2022 award recipients include the following municipalities and community organizations:

Bath Fiber Optic Alliance
Eastern Maine Development Corporation (Lincoln, Newport, and Milford)
Eastport Fiber Connectivity Committee
Four Directions/Wabanaki Nations (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point)
Frankfort/Stockton Springs/Winterport Broadband Committee
Greater Portland Council of Governments (Casco, Raymond, Sebago, Naples and Standish)
Greene Broadband Committee
Schoodic Peninsula Broadband
Town of Chelsea
Town of Dresden
Town of Woolwich
Wiscasset Broadband Committee

“Maine is known nationally for its investments and progress in community-driven broadband planning, and a million-dollar investment in our first cohort of Get Ready communities is a reflection of the state’s commitment to partner with communities,” said Kendra Jo Grindle, MCA’s Community Capacity Manager. “This program is designed to build a pipeline for infrastructure investment while providing the technical support to accelerate their planning process.”

Members of the first Get Ready cohort will receive up to $10,000 in direct funding in addition to professional services contracted through MCA. Services include technical support to develop high-level network designs, financial support to develop a capital cost analysis, legal assistance, and project management and meeting facilitation support. These services will be customized for each community group to complement their prior planning efforts and existing partnerships.

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