Maine Broadband Gets Big Boost from Fed Funding


Governor Janet T. Mills, (D),  the First Woman Governor of Maine and its Former AG Under the Previous Administration, at a Recent Press Conference. in Augusta.

Last week Governor Janet T. Mills (D), praised an announcement from the US Treasury Department that it is allocating more than $178 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to expand Maine broadband.

The funds will be utilized by the Maine Connectivity Authority, the creation of which Governor Mills spear-headed with bipartisan support from the Legislature, to bring affordable, high-speed internet across the state,” said Governor Janet T. Mills.  “With this Federal funding, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that all Maine people and Maine businesses, regardless of zip code, are able to utilize the vital tool that is broadband to improve their lives and grow our economy.  I want to thank Senator King, a champion for broadband, for his fierce and successful advocacy to secure these important funds for Maine.  They will make a significant difference in the lives of Maine people.”

Last week Senator King announced that the US Treasury department is allocating more than $128 million in ARP funds to expand Maine broadband.  Funds were secured in the Senate by a vote of 50-49.

“The ARP is bringing more than $128 million in broadband funding to Maine, which will create new opportunities for people throughout our state – especially in rural areas,” said Senator King.  “It is clear as day that a high-speed, affordable broadband connection is fundamental to participating in the 21st century economy.  Too many Maine families have been forced to go without this vital tool watching economic opportunities disappear, struggling to access their education and missing out on convenient ways to access critical health care.”

Expanding access to affordable broadband is one of Governor Mills’ top priorities.  Earlier this year, she signed into law bipartisan legislation establishing the Maine Connectivity Authority, a new entity charged with achieving universal availability of high-speed broadband in Maine.  The Authority is empowered to provide grants and loans and partner with the private sector and local communities to leverage investment and coordinate build out of infrastructure.  The Authority positions Maine to take a more proactive approach to closing the digital divide in rural and hard-to-reach communities that will focus on meeting Maine’s current and future needs, rather than reacting in a piecemeal fashion with various private companies to construct a patchwork of infrastructure.