Committee approves rural internet bill

Feb 04, 2020

Augusta — The Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee today approved a bill to invest in high-speed internet for rural Maine. The bill, LD 2021, would provide $15 million to ConnectME Authority. It will now go to the Senate and House for consideration.

In New England, Maine ranks last in the region in access to high-speed internet, according to the latest census data. This funding will allow ConnectME to provide competitive broadband infrastructure grants to underserved communities in Maine. An estimated 50% of roadways or 17,660 miles are considered underserved.

This state funding would help leverage private and federal funds to facilitate  construction of these broadband infrastructure projects. The state funding essentially serves as seed money to help communities get their projects off the ground. Currently, there are more than 100 communities that have done the planning and are waiting for a broadband infrastructure grant.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, received broad support from a variety of organizations at a public hearing last week. Proponents include Maine Municipal Association, Maine Chamber of Commerce, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Farm Bureau Association, University of Maine System, Community College System, AARP Maine, Maine Public Health Association, Maine Association of Realtors, Northern Light Health, Educate Maine, and the State Board of Education.




Comments (1)
Posted by: from the kitchen | Feb 05, 2020 06:55

Kudos Erin. Gittin er done.

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