The Working Waterfront

Feds provide Maine with broadband funds

Posted 2023-08-29
Last Modified 2023-08-29

The Maine Connectivity Authority was awarded $30 million in federal funding from the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure grant. This investment is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will support Maine’s strategic goal of providing universal broadband access throughout the state.

“As one of the most rural states in the nation, Maine will see immense benefits from expanding high-speed, affordable broadband access to all our people,” members of the state’s congressional delegation noted in a joint statement. “In the 21st-century economy, access to high-speed internet is absolutely essential to business development and job growth in rural areas, and it opens doors to new opportunities in telehealth and education.”

In securing the funding, “Maine is demonstrating its national leadership in the expansion of high-speed, reliable and affordable internet,” said Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. “MOOSE Net will provide the connectivity infrastructure to enable the industries that power Maine—farming, fishing, forest products, and fun.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $65 billion to support broadband infrastructure nationwide, including $1 billion for the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program administered by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. The funding will support the construction, improvement, or acquisition of “middle mile” broadband infrastructure, which will help reduce the cost of connecting areas that are unserved or underserved to the internet backbone, and bridge gaps in the broadband network.

Sen. Susan Collins was part of the core group of ten senators who negotiated the text of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Collins and Sen. Shaheen of New Hampshire spearheaded the broadband working group and co-authored the law’s provisions providing for $65 billion in broadband investment. This historic legislation is delivering billions of dollars to Maine for investments in broadband, roads, bridges, and more. As co-chairman of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Sen. Angus King has been a strong advocate for expanding affordable broadband access as a way to increase economic opportunity in rural Maine.

King introduced the Middle Mile Broadband Deployment Act in 2021 that proposed creating a grant program to connect internet carriers to local networks in unserved and underserved communities.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is expected to deliver approximately $2.5 billion to Maine over the next five years for critical broadband, transportation, energy, and environmental projects. In December 2022, Maine received $5.5 million to plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband service throughout the state.