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Jun 29, 2023

Press Release: Maine Receives ‘Transformational,’ ‘Historic’ Funding to Expand Access to Quality Internet

AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills and US Sen. Angus King joined the Maine Connectivity Authority, community advocates and federal and state broadband experts for a briefing today on the state of broadband access in Maine and to celebrate Maine’s success in two federal grant programs that will direct more than $300 million to the state over the next five years.

On Monday, the Biden-Harris administration announced that Maine will receive $272 million to expand high-speed internet access under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The announcement comes closely on the heels of a new $30 million federal grant to fund 530 miles of “middle mile” infrastructure which are high-capacity regional fiber optic “highways” that provide an essential backbone network to carry large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances.

“Maine is a national leader in its work to bridge the digital divide,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With this unprecedented Federal investment – the largest we have ever received – the Maine Connectivity Authority can take huge strides in bringing high-speed internet to more Maine people and in fulfilling my promise to make an internet connection available to everyone in Maine who wants one.”

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is located within the Department of Commerce, is administering both grant programs with the goal of ensuring that everyone who wants it has access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.

“Mainers need high-speed, affordable Internet to access telehealth, education and career opportunities, and I appreciate Governor Mills' commitment to closing the digital divide,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “With today's historic investment in broadband deployment, we will connect everyone in Maine and create thousands of good-paying jobs along the way.”

The program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative, which aims to eliminate barriers that keep people from taking full advantage of high-speed internet. The program expands high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.

“Just as rural electrification did in the 1930s, these broadband investments are going to be a game-changer. This technology will help connect thousands of Maine households and businesses to the infrastructure that powers 21st-century life, and enable communities across the nation to fully engage in the 21st-century economy,” said Senator King, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus. “As remote work becomes more accepted, a high-speed internet connection means an individual can work for any company in the country – so people can choose to work where they live instead of the other way around. These vital investments in construction and deployment will also go a long way towards Maine’s telehealth needs, as more people will be able to monitor their health with medical professionals without long, time-consuming drives across the state.”

“Access to high-speed Internet is critical to the vitality of rural communities, which is why I have long championed expanding access to broadband across Maine,” said Senator Collins. “From spurring job creation to supporting telemedicine and education, the Internet unlocks almost endless benefits and possibilities. I co-authored the broadband section of the law to help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas, and I am pleased that this funding will help Maine make historic investments to extend its high-speed network to ensure that families have a reliable connection to their loved ones, co-workers, schools, and medical services.”

“Reliable and affordable internet access is an essential service that keeps our businesses, homes, and lives connected to one another, especially in rural states like Maine. With rural constituents in Maine continuing to face challenges accessing affordable internet service, this significant federal investment will help close the digital divide that impacts businesses and families across our state,” said US Rep. Chellie Pingree. I’m thrilled to have helped secure this funding by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which time and again is proving how President Biden, his administration, and House Democrats are delivering for the American people.”

“As I travel around Maine, one of the top issues I hear about is the importance of rebuilding our infrastructure,” said US Rep. Jared Golden. “Access to high-quality, affordable internet is one of the challenges that many rural communities must overcome. These grants will help people and businesses in rural Maine connect, and that translates into jobs and a stronger economy.”

Maine’s funds will be deployed in alignment with the state’s draft Five Year Action Plan and Digital Equity Strategy, which the Maine Connectivity Authority is seeking public feedback on at

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes transformational funding to expand access to high-speed, reliable internet across Maine and the country. Thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration, the bipartisan action in Congress, and the leadership of the Mills administration and the Maine Legislature, our state will be able to empower tens of thousands of people with quality internet access,” said Andrew Butcher, President of the Maine Connectivity Authority.

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