ConnectME Authority Announces Eighth Round of Broadband Grant Awards
July 3, 2013
The ConnectME Authority recently awarded 15 grants to expand broadband communications services to unserved areas of Maine. Just over $1.0 million was awarded to recipients with total project costs of over $1.6 million, expanding services to more than 1000 households and businesses. The grantees are listed below and can be found on the ConnectME Authority website. These awards further the Authority's 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.
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 114 grants, potentially serving more than 37,000 households and businesses. Grant awards since the inception of the Authority total greater than $9 million for projects totaling in excess of $17 million 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.
"Broadband provides people in rural areas with enhanced access to technology; transforming our state economy, and expanding business opportunities for more Mainers," said Jean Wilson, Authority Chair and Senior Vice President of Information Services at LL Bean in Freeport. "We are on our way to meet universal broadband availability goals, but much work remains for Maine to become a leader and gain from the benefits of broadband including employment access, distance education, and telemedicine."
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, expected project completion time is twelve or fewer months.
The fifteen awards made in this round go to eight service providers and municipalities. The grantees are:
- Axiom Technologies (four grants): Cathance Lake, Cooper area; Baileyville; Harrington; and Jonesport.
- North Country Broadband: Willimantic area
- Pioneer Broadband (five grants): Caribou; Houlton; Oxbow; Marsardis; and Westfield
- Premium Choice: Deer Isle area
- Town of Blue Hill
- Town of Chelsea
- Town of Mapleton
- Town of Whitefield