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November 11, 2022

Maine broadband agency proposes 530-mile 'MOOSE Net' fiber network

A partnership led by the Maine Connectivity Authority is seeking to build a 530-million "middle-mile" fiber broadband network that would serve tens of thousands of residents and business across the state. 

Middle-mile infrastructure is the regional fiber optic infrastructure made up of high-capacity fiber that carries large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances and between various elements of telecommunications infrastructure.

The network would encompass 131 communities, representing over 11,000 unserved residents and local businesses. It will reach more than 200 community anchor institutions, including schools, hospitals, libraries, local government buildings, and civic centers.

Maine’s application proposes $53 million to construct the Maine Online Optical Statewide Enabling Network, abbreviated as MOOSE Net. The proposal aims to fill in the so-called "middle mile" of connectivity in Maine, to replace the current patchwork of individual private networks with infrastructure that connects homes, businesses and other users at the local level.

File photo
Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority

“This proposal would provide a critical investment to our state’s fiber networks, building a reliable and resilient backbone that will power the future of Maine’s broadband expansion and help us achieve affordable universal service for all Mainers,” said Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority.

The Portland-based organization is a quasi-government agency established in 2021 to achieve universal access to affordable high-speed broadband in Maine.

MOOSE Net’s expansion would deploy open-access fiber "highways" that provide an essential backbone network to enable last-mile providers to increase their coverage, help fortify digital infrastructure to prevent outages, and advance the competitiveness of rural communities.

Partners in the proposal also include University of Maine System, NetworkMaine, Maine Department of Transportation, Consolidated Communications, and other internet service providers and telecommunication companies in Maine.

More information

Find out more about the middle-mile initiative here.

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