Governor Mills Announces ConnectMaine Approval of Broadband Infrastructure Grants
AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills announced that ConnectMaine’s board of directors voted to approve the first round of broadband infrastructure projects funded by the High Speed Internet Infrastructure Bond she has led and which voters in Maine approved overwhelmingly in July 2020.
AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills announced that ConnectMaine’s board of directors has voted to approve the first round of broadband infrastructure projects funded by the High Speed Internet Infrastructure Bond she led and which Maine voters overwhelmingly approved in July 2020. The $ 15 million bond represents the first significant funding ConnectMaine has received in its 12-year history and the first round of funding will support 20 projects in 11 counties.
Zone grant recipients include $ 1.8 million to Premium Choice Broadband for a project in the unorganized territories of Piscatquis County and Somerset between Greenville and Jackman; $ 95,900 to Cornerstone Communications for a project in Brownville and Lake View; $ 200,000 to Premium Choice Broadband for a project in Parkman and Cambridge; $ 154,000 to Premium Choice Broadband for a project at Dover-Foxcroft and Garland; $ 313,248 to Premium Choice Broadband for a project in Greenville; and $ 577,243 to Premium Choice Broadband for a project in Monson.
“High speed internet is as basic as electricity, heat and water. It is a necessity, and we must have it throughout our state. That’s why my administration has made expanding broadband access a priority, ensuring the first state-level investment in over a decade that we are now turning into projects, ”Mills said. “Today, we’re taking another step forward to bring high-speed Internet access to more families and businesses across Maine.”
“We are very pleased with the diversity of projects that have been submitted in this first round of applications,” said Peggy Schaffer, Director of the ConnectMaine Authority. “The support of communities, ISPs, the ConnnectMaine grants team, including Tilson Technologies and Vetro Fiber, made this process a very thorough and competitive process. We look forward to working with all applicants in the coming months to continue to provide this essential service to more Mainers. “
“Reliable high-speed internet is absolutely essential to the future of the State of Maine. These projects highlight the diversity of public-private partnerships needed to build resilient communities and bridge Maine’s digital divide, ”said Nick Battista, Senior Policy Officer at the Island Institute and Chairman of the Board of ConnectMaine. . “Using government bond funds to leverage almost twice as much matching funds will help connect over 8,500 homes. Kudos to all of the grantees for your hard work, these are place based projects that take time to come together, thank you for caring about the future of Maine.
The council approved $ 8,671,323 in grants to 20 projects in 11 counties in Maine serving 8,571 sites. The total cost of the projects is $ 23,699,581, including the required matching funds from Internet service providers and other municipalities. Funded projects in the Midcoast region span across the ConnectKidsNow! From the Mills administration initiative last year, which extended broadband internet to over 700 students. The largest geographic project brings fiber connections from Rockwood to Jackman.
The ConnectMaine Authority anticipates that these projects will be built over the next year.
Later this year, ConnectMaine will accept applications for the remainder of the bond financing. In the meantime, ConnectMaine will continue to work with communities on community planning to take full advantage of federal funding opportunities.
Expanding affordable, high-quality Internet access is a priority for the Mills administration. In addition to spearheading last year’s bond proposal, Mills offered to invest $ 150 million under the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and create the Maine Connectivity Authority to expand the access to affordable broadband.
The ConnectMaine Authority is a public institution of the State Government of Maine whose mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband for all households and businesses in Maine and to help them understand the valuable role it can play. to enrich their lives and help their communities thrive.