Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced Tuesday, Jan. 12, that Maine will receive a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant to map the state’s broadband Internet network, identify underserved areas and plan for expansion.

“To compete with the rest of the nation in today’s technology-driven economy, we need to fill the many holes in Maine’s broadband network,” said Pingree. “This grant allows us to take the crucial first step of identifying those areas so we know where to focus our efforts and resources.”

The grant will be administered by ConnectME Authority, established by the Maine Legislature to stimulate the development of Maine’s communications infrastructure. Over a two year period, $1.3 million will be used for broadband data collection and mapping activities, and $440,000 for expansion planning over five years.

This is Maine’s second major broadband announcement in the last month. In December, Pingree joined Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in Orono to announce a $25 million grant to install high-speed fiber-optic cable in rural areas of Maine, improving Internet access to 110,000 households.