ConnectME Authority Announces Seventh Round of Broadband Grant Awards
July 16, 2012
AUGUSTA – The ConnectME Authority has recently awarded 23 grants to expand broadband communications services to unserved areas of Maine. Over $2.0 million was awarded to recipients with total project costs of $3.1 million, expanding services to more than 2000 households and businesses. The grantees are listed below and can be found on the ConnectME Authority website.
The ConnectME Authority was created in 2006 with the goal of expanding broadband access in the most rural, unserved areas of the state; areas which have little prospect of service from a traditional provider. To date, the Authority has awarded 99 grants, potentially serving more than 35,000 households and businesses. Grant awards since the inception of the Authority total greater than $8M for projects totaling in excess of $15M in value. In addition to increasing broadband availability, the Authority administers a $5 million federal grant for mapping, planning, capacity building, and technical assistance broadband projects in Maine. For more information on this grant, visit ConnectME's federal grant website.
"This seventh round of grants demonstrates the importance of the ConnectME Authority in stimulating private investment in broadband services across Maine. The increased competition in the grant process is a clear indication of the demand for broadband services as well as the success of the Authority," said Jean Wilson, Authority Chair and Senior Vice President of Information Services at LL Bean. “Access to broadband services in our rural areas is key to increased business opportunities. Expansion of business will grow our economy, retaining the existing workforce and supplementing it with others who value and want to live the Maine experience."
Grant applications were evaluated against a number of criteria: anticipated households and businesses served; creation of public and private partnerships; community support; and financial viability. Though not a requirement, ideal project completion time is twelve or fewer months.
The twenty-three awards made in this round go to eight service providers. The grantees are:
- Axiom Technologies (two grants) for East Machias and Halls Mills
- Fairpoint Communications (three grants) for Robbinston, Sweden, and Vinalhaven
- Lincolnville Networks (three grants) for Hope, Lincolnville, and Lincolnville Beach
- Oxford County Tel and Tel for Hartford
- Pioneer Broadband (four grants) for Amity, Big Lake Township, Caribou, and Mars Hill
- Premium Choice (two grants) for Grindstone and Williamsburg
- Tidewater Telecom (six grants) for Appleton, Bremen, Jefferson, New Harbor, Nobleboro, and South Bristol
- Time Warner (two grants) for Alna and Orland
According to Phil Lindley, the Executive Director for the ConnectME Authority, "These awards further the goal to provide universal broadband services to rural Maine. The benefits of this expanded capacity are increased economic development, tele-health services, educational opportunities, and better interaction with and access to governmental services."