Governor Mills Announces ConnectMaine Approval of Broadband Infrastructure Grants


Governor Janet T. Mills, at a Recent Press Conference in Portland.

Governor Janet T. Mills announced late this week that the ConnectMaine Board of Directors has voted to approve the first round of broadband infrastructure projects funded by the High Speed Internet Infrastructure Board she spearheaded and that Maine voters overwhelmingly approved in July 2020. The $75 million bond represents the first significant funding that ConnectMaine has received in its twelve-year history and the first round of funding will support 20 projects across 11 counties.

The Board approved $8,671, 323 in grants to 20 projects in 11 counties across Maine serving 8,571 locations.  The total cost of the projects is $23,699,581 funding the required funding match from internet providers and other municipalities.  Projects funded in the mid-coast area expand on the Mills Administration initiative last year, which expanded high speed internet to more than 700 students.  The largest geographical project brings fiber communications from Rockwood to Jackman.  The ConnectMaine Authority anticipates that these projects will be built over the next year.

Later this year, ConnectMaine will accept applications for the remainder of the bond funding.  Meanwhile, ConnectMaine will continue to work with communities on community panning in order to take full advantage of potential funding opportunities.

The expansion of high quality, affordable internet is a priority of the Mills Administration.  In addition to spearheading last years bond proposals, Governor Mills has proposed investing $150 million through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan and treating the Maine Connectivity Authority to expand access to affordable broadband.  It’s a public instrumentality of Maine state government whose mission is to facilitate the unusual availability of broadband to all Maine households and businesses.

“High speed internet is as fundamental as electricity, heat and water.  It is a necessity and we need to have it across our state.  That is why my Administration has made expanding access to broadband a priority, securing the first state level investment in more than a decade that we’re now turning into projects,” said Governor Mills in a press release.  “Today, we take another step forward in brining high-speed internet access to more families and businesses across Maine.”