ConnectME awards funds to communities to produce plans that define local broadband needs, goals and through digital inclusion efforts encourages adoption of identified best practices by participating municipalities and organizations. Plans must inventory existing broadband infrastructure assets within the municipality, municipalities or regions and include a gap analysis defining the additional broadband infrastructure necessary to meet identified needs and goals. An assessment of all municipal procedures, policies, rules and ordinances that have the effect of delaying or increasing the cost of broadband infrastructure deployment are part of the process.
To date ConnectME has awarded 14 planning grants, totaling $580,872, providing planning assistance to over 50 communities.
We require that prospective applicants submit a precertification checklist. This is a stakeholder and information gathering process. A community may submit the precertification checklist to ConnectME at any time, even at the same time as the Community Broadband Planning Grant Application. Once certified, a community will be eligible to participate in the competitive process to receive funds from the authority for a Community Broadband Planning Grant.