The ConnectMaine Authority continually refines its grantmaking approach and criteria for broadband projects to ensure accountability in achieving state broadband goals. ConnectMaine actively solicits input on its grants programs. Drafted application guidance is often shared at a monthly meeting prior to opening an application window. The application materials and evaluation process are set when an application window is opened at a following monthly meeting.
ConnectMaine hosts workshops to solicit input on its grants programs before application windows are opened, and for potential applicants soon after an application window is opened. The workshop for engagement (pdf) was held on December 15 (zoom recording) and focused on areas of confusion in the drafted application guidance, to potentially revise the grants program before opening the application window.
Common questions are being answered (pdf) through this engagement process. Additional questions about submitting applications (pdf) were answered through the application window that closed on March 20.
The workshop for potential applicants is a deeper dive into the infrastructure grants program, and as such is intended for those who have a project ready for application. This workshop will walk through the application guidance and data form, describe the grants portal and demonstrate the use of FiberMap for applicants. Before the workshop, attendees should review the application guidance as well as these objectives and framework of the grants program.
Stakeholder engagement aims to align the grants program with the ConnectMaine mission, state’s goals and action plan, by capturing the perspectives of broadband users, communities who could benefit from these grants, our partners in industry, partner organizations and other stakeholders.
Through this stakeholder engagement, ConnectMaine created overarching objectives for infrastructure grants (pdf). Based on these, the framework (pdf) for the infrastructure grants program includes articulating eligibility, the elements of applications and review process, and accountability in grant reporting.
Under this framework the broadband infrastructure grants program, the application materials and evaluation process are drafted. The application evaluation process translate the objectives into more measurable indicators than the higher-level elements articulated in the framework. Staff presented the refinements (pdf) that influences the application guide.