November 16, 2022
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) announced that the Maine Connectivity Authority will receive a total of $5,000,000 to support the development of a Five-Year action plan to close the broadband gap in rural Maine. This funding was authorized through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and provided through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program that was created and funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Senator Collins, the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, was part of the core group of 10 Senators who negotiated the text of the bipartisan infrastructure law. Senators Collins and King both worked to negotiate and pass this historic legislation, which will deliver billions of dollars to Maine for investments in broadband, roads, bridges, and more.
“Access to high-speed Internet is critical to the vitality of rural communities, which is why I have long championed expanding access to broadband across Maine,” said Senator Collins. “From spurring job creation to supporting telemedicine and education, the Internet unlocks almost endless benefits and possibilities. I co-authored the broadband section of the law to help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas, and I am pleased that this funding will help Maine to take another step forward to extend its high-speed network to ensure that families have a reliable connection to their loved ones, co-workers, schools, and medical services.”
“High-speed, affordable broadband access is essential for small businesses, telehealth patients, families, and students across rural and urban Maine,” said Senator King. “This investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will improve internet speeds and bring important new opportunities to communities that need it most. I’m proud to see the continued impact of this bipartisan bill, and will continue working with my colleagues on programs that close the digital divide and help rural Maine thrive.”
The BEAD Program is a formula grant program that provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs in all states and territories. The first phase, the Planning Grants, allows states and territories to develop their high-speed Internet deployment plans to make sure all residents of the state are covered before receiving their allocation for capacity building.
The Maine Connectivity Authority will use this grant to close the broadband availability gap and support the development of a Five-Year Action Plan. The following planning and pre-deployment activities will be taken: