Reach Me Line Extension Incentives

Program Description

Reach Me will optimize broadband deployment by incentivizing internet service providers (ISPs) to complete their existing networks by extending service to all unserved locations in their service areas.

 

Reach Me Incentives will fund line extensions to locations that the MCA has determined are most likely to be cost-effectively served by the expansion of existing networks.

The MCA will continue refining this programming design based on feedback from partners and summer/fall 2022 engagement activities.

Who is Eligible?

Existing network owners and ISPs

Deadlines

RFQ Deadline: Fall 2022

Proposal Deadline: Winter 2022

MCA Contact

Stephenie MacLagan smaclagan@maineconnectivity.org
(207) 200-3197

Who is eligible to apply?

Reach Me Incentives are available to existing ISPs, and will fund fiber-to-the-premise and potentially cable line extensions beyond those required by any existing franchise agreements. Completion of the annual required data filing in 2022 is required, as the data will be used in the proposal process. More information and resources about completing data filings may be found here.

Criteria & Priorities

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Eligible Areas
MCA will proactively identify eligible locations for Reach Me Incentives. Funded line extensions will be jointly selected with pre-qualified ISPs, where any existing last-mile connections fail to address some locations.


Performance Standards

MCA will fund line extensions that provide service of at least 100/100 Mbps. Line extensions must be completed by 2025. ISPs should propose as many line extensions as feasible. MCA aims to incentivize universal internet service, one of its programming principles.


ISP Financial Commitment

The ISP financial commitment must be at least $700 per potential subscriber location along the proposed line extensions, and may be greater than $700/location, as MCA will use the amount of Reach Me Incentives needed per location to evaluate competing proposals.


Affordability

The prices for service offerings must be equal to or less than the price per subscriber location offered by the involved ISP elsewhere in the state. Involved ISPs must participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to meet federal requirements, and a service level of at least 50/10 Mbps must be offered to those eligible for ACP at a price that is fully subsidized under the ACP. This is currently $30 per month. Finally, the price for 100/20 Mbps service must be equal to or less than the federal reasonable comparability benchmark for broadband rates as determined by the annual FCC Urban Rate Survey.

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Key Dates

  • AMA Engagement Session: August 10, 2022 (register here)

  • Program Launch: Mid-October

  • Applicant Webinar: TBD 

  • RFQ Deadline: Fall 2022

  • Proposal Deadline: Winter 2022

Funding Available

 

MCA will allocate $20 million from the ARPA Capital Projects Fund for Reach Me Incentives. Based on participation by ISPs and the results of the five-year Maine Broadband Master Plan, MCA may extend Reach Me Incentives with support from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program created as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

How to Apply

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Qualification Process
ISPs who own existing fiber or cable networks may respond to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that then facilitates rapid review of proposed projects. RFQ responses will include: labor and material cost rates to be used in proposals, company qualifications, the communities of current service areas and those affected by potential proposals, completion of required data filings, and information to verify affordability requirements. Qualified ISPs will receive an approved cost per route mile and potential subscriber location along the route, to be used with any adjustments for local factors such as the cost of pole make-ready or required underground construction, in making their proposals for line extensions.

 

Proposal Process
MCA will work with pre-qualified ISPs to jointly select line extensions from identified areas for Reach Me Incentives. MCA may request additional line extensions and may solicit suggestions from participating ISPs; MCA will ask participating ISPs to identify the scale at which they have the capacity to deliver line extensions by the end of 2024. Should proposals received exceed available funds, or if the same line extensions are proposed by more than one participating ISP, MCA will first prioritize projects based on the level of service to be offerred, the amount of Reach Me Incentives needed, and any proposals that further address affordability of service.

Other Resources

Guidance for CPF Funds (US Dept Treasury)

This guidance provides a summary of project eligibility and terms and conditions, as well as information about the process for applying for a grant under the Capital Projects Fund program.

All-In Engagement Kickoff Webinar Recording

MCA recently hosted a virtual event where we shared additional program details and timelines, and collected stakeholder feedback as we continue to design programs.

Ask MCA Anything Virtual Engagement Event

MCA recently hosted a virtual AMA (Ask MCA Anything) engagement event where participants posed questions for the MCA team. Please click below to watch a recording. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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