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Updated: June 18, 2024

Maine gets federal green light for $272M broadband expansion

Internet cables Photo / Courtesy, Maine will invest $272 million to expand high-speed, affordable internet access across the state after getting the green light from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Maine will invest $272 million to expand high-speed, affordable internet access across the state after getting its plan for the federal funding approved by government officials.

The money awarded to Maine from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program created by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — first announced last year — is the largest grant award the state has ever received to expand internet access.

The OK from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that serves as the president's principal adviser on telecommunications policies, puts Maine a step closer to moving ahead with its plan.

“Reliable internet access is a critical part of ensuring rural states like Maine can fully participate in our modern, globally connected economy,” Gov. Janet Mills said in Monday's announcement.

"With this approval, Maine can now put historic federal funds to use to bring the internet to more people in Maine, unlocking new opportunities in commerce, education, telemedicine and more."

'Critical step closer' 

With the federal green light, the Maine Connectivity Authority says it will begin selecting subgrantees for distribution of funds in the coming months. 

The agency will then submit a final proposal to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration detailing how the money will help Maine achieve universal connectivity. The final proposal must be submitted to the NTIA within a year.

“Our state has made tremendous progress connecting people to more reliable, faster and affordable internet,” said Maine Connectivity Authority President Andrew Butcher. “We’ve led the way on digital equity, helping veterans, seniors and older Mainers get online, and are now one critical step closer to making the most of this historic investment to bridge the digital divide.”

The $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program, authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's “Internet for All” Initiative to provide affordable, reliable high-speed internet to Americans.

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