On Thursday, Governor Janet Mills announced that the ConnectMaine Board of Directors has voted to approve the first round of broadband infrastructure projects funded by the High Speed Internet Infrastructure Bond she spearheaded and that Maine voters overwhelmingly approved in July 2020. The $15 million bond represents the first significant funding that ConnectMaine has received in its twelve-year history and the first round of funding will support 20 projects across 11 counties.
The Board approved $8,671,323 in grants to 20 projects in 11 counties across Maine serving 8571 locations. The total cost of the projects is $23,699,581, including the required funding match from internet service providers and others municipalities. Projects funded in the Mid-Coast area expand on the Mills Administration’s ConnectKidsNow! initiative last year, which expanded highspeed internet to more than 700 students. The largest geographical project brings fiber connections from Rockwood to Jackman. View the complete list of projects (PDF).
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 funding. Meanwhile, ConnectMaine will continue to work with communities on community planning in order to take full advantage of potential federal funding opportunities.
The expansion of high quality, affordable internet is a priority of the Mills Administration. In addition to spearheading last year’s bond proposal, Governor Mills has proposed investing $150 million through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and creating the Maine Connectivity Authority to expand access to affordable broadband.
The ConnectMaine Authority is a public instrumentality of Maine state government whose mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband to all Maine households and businesses and help them understand the valuable role it can play in enriching their lives and helping their communities thrive.