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ConnectME Authority Grant Program - Funds for Broadband Infrastructure Projects
ConnectME looks for creative solutions for expanding affordable broadband service to the unserved areas of Maine. For the next round, the ninth round, we will continue to request smaller, focused proposals, with a suggested grant limit for each project of $100,000, funding no more than 50% of the total project, while recognizing that we can be flexible for exceptional proposals. Those interested in being informed when the ninth round is opened can fill out this online form to receive an email notice of announcement and instruction, the Staying Informed Form. Legislation creating the ConnectME Authority provides for funding from a 0.25% surcharge on instate communications services.
The Authority makes grants for "last mile" infrastructure to provide high-speed internet access to customers in unserved areas of Maine. Specifically, such grants provide a percentage of the cost, matched with funding from an internet service provider, of bringing affordable access from an existing location to unserved homes and businesses, which then pay a monthly access fee to that service provider.
In 2012, after the eighth round of grants, 114 grants, potentially serving more than 37,000 households and businesses have been awarded. The 114 grants, potentially serve 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. These Authority awards went to five Maine Internet service providers (ISPs) from small, one-office operations to those with regional and national offices. Grants ranged from $144 thousand in Washington County for $1,433 per household (household availability 100) to $6 thousand in Chelsea for $769 per household (household availability 8).
Currently Available Grants: ConnectME is on a ten month granting cycle and does not follow a calendar year cycle. Sign up on the Staying Informed form, and we will add you to future notifications of grant rounds.