The ConnectME Authority is a component unit of Maine State Government whose mission is to promote use of broadband service by identifying and sharing best practices that encourage use of broadband service, eliminating barriers to use of broadband service and facilitating and supporting public-private partnerships to increase use of broadband.
Duties of the Authority include:
- Establish criteria defining unserved and underserved areas;
- Promote use of broadband service;
- Support broadband investment;
- Facilitate state support of deployment of broadband infrastructure;
- Collect and disseminate information; and
- Administer funds.
Infrastructure Grant Program
ConnectME awards grants for “last mile” infrastructure to provide broadband to customers in unserved areas of Maine. Specifically, such grants provide a percentage of the cost, matched with funding from an internet service provider or a community
Eligible for grant funding will be any area that receives no broadband service or service less than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Projects approved for funding must provide service levels of 10 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.
Community Planning Grant Program Phase I and Phase II
Phase 1 grants are to help to produce plans that define local broadband needs, goals and encourages adoption of identified best practices by participating municipalities and organizations. This is to be a community planning process that identifies how your area is currently served, what your area’s goals are for increased connectivity, what your areas needs for digital literacy and how your planning is going to address those needs. This Phase is intended to begin the process of building broad community support to expand broadband.
Phase II grants are to bring communities to the next step in their broadband plans. Phase II grants will help the community develop plans for one or more potential network designs with cost estimates. The funds will help a community identify operating models and potential business models that might be used to build out a network.
The ConnectME Authority was established as an independent state agency in 2006. The funding mechanism for the ConnectME Authority is a 0.25% surcharge on all communications, video and internet service bills which generates approximately $850,000 per year.
The ConnectME Authority’s mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband to all Maine households and businesses and help them understand the valuable role it can play in enriching their lives and helping their communities thrive.