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 materials and performance criteria are often shared at a monthly meeting prior to opening an application window. The application and evaluation process are set when an application window is opened at a following monthly meeting. Staff recently gave a presentation on the refinements (pdf) to the grants programs.
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 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; attendees should review the application materials 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 form, scoring guide and other materials are drafted. The scoring criteria translate the objectives into more measurable indicators than the higher-level elements articulated in the framework.