top of page

Apr 5, 2024

Press Release: Two Grants Will Expand Access To Broadband in Fayette and Wilton

FAYETTE and WILTON, Maine – The Maine Connectivity Authority today awarded two grants to connect
hard-to-reach locations in Fayette and Wilton with access to affordable, quality, high-speed internet.

The Town of Fayette, in cooperation with Consolidated Communications, will receive a Connect the Ready
grant of $1,875,000 to reach approximately 440 homes and businesses. The town of Wilton, also in
collaboration with Consolidated Communications, will receive a Reach Me grant of $311,000 to connect
approximately 169 hard-to-reach locations requiring underground infrastructure.

These two grants reallocate dollars initially awarded to internet service provider Matrix Design Group, which
was awarded grants to serve the two towns in early 2023. Matrix ultimately declined the awards in December
2023 when it declared it could not fulfill the grant requirements. Following that declination, a Request for
Proposals was issued for the town of Fayette, which resulted in four competitive proposals. Similarly, the town of Wilton followed a community-driven process, identifying their provider of choice based on competitive service options.

“Every community in Maine faces its own challenges when it comes to providing access to affordable,
high-speed internet service,” said Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. “While the
projects in Fayette and Wilton look a little different than originally imagined, they demonstrate how the towns, internet service providers, and MCA can work creatively and collaboratively to solve problems and get people connected to quality internet. The fact that five separate companies were competing to provide internet service in these towns represents something to be encouraged by.”

While these grant awards did not follow a traditional trajectory, the Connect the Ready grant program opened the door for visibility into each community's unique needs and the competitive opportunity available to providers. These grants complement Consolidated Communications' privately funded expansion of high-speed internet in both communities. As a result, MCA can reallocate approximately $4 million that was originally awarded to other areas of need and infrastructure projects in the future.
Funding for the Connect the Ready and Reach Me Programs was made available through the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Fund.

Quotes from partners:

● Mark Robinson, Town Manager, Fayette
"We are greatly appreciative of the work by the MCA staff that has led to the recommendation of an
internet service provider committed to serving every resident in the Town of Fayette! The investment of
the MCA grant funding in this town has been the result of a long, at times arduous, journey that all of us
will be greatly relieved to see completed for the benefit of the people of Fayette."

● Hildie Lipson, Kennebec Broadband Partnership Director
“Congratulations to the town of Fayette and its residents on this award. Now, every location in town will
have access to fiber broadband for the first time. This dramatically improves access to high-speed
internet for education, training, employment, and telehealth visits. With Fayette getting connected, we
are one step closer to bridging the digital divide in Kennebec County.”

● Maria Greeley, Town Manager, Wilton
“This collaboration offers a tremendous opportunity for the Town of Wilton and its residents. We want
to thank those individuals who have been involved with this process for their time and effort, as their
dedication to the Town of Wilton is proved with this collaboration. As a community, we look forward to
seeing the positive impact this will have town wide.”

● Charlie Woodworth, Executive Director, Greater Franklin Economic & Community Development
“In 2017, the Franklin County Broadband Initiative was established by citizen leaders who saw that
obtaining reliable high-speed broadband throughout the county was going to be the keystone to
allowing for community and economic growth. Our service center towns agreed and helped to grow
this initiative by establishing their own Broadband Committees to inform and align their fellow citizens in
recognizing the essential need to improve their connectivity. From the beginning, the leadership of the
town of Wilton recognized that a public/private partnership would be the solution for attracting
investment. This has been a long and persistent effort by all parties, and we are thrilled each resident of
Wilton will be able to connect to a FIBER network before the end of this summer. The Franklin County
Broadband Initiative is responsible for seeing that 96% of the entire county can connect to a fiber
network. By the end of 2024, 98% of the county will be able to connect to fiber. Thanks to the early
vision of Connect Maine and now the funding through Maine Connectivity Authority, I believe that we
are leading the state in this metric.”

bottom of page