News and Headlines

ConnectME Authority Announces Second Round of Grants

Six Grants Totaling More than $1.75 Million Dollars Awarded

AUGUSTA – The ConnectME Authority has awarded six grants to expand broadband communications services to unserved areas in Maine.  A total of more than $1.75 million was awarded to the recipients, expanding services to an estimated 12,500 residents.  A list of the grantees is shown below and they are fully listed on the ConnectME Authority's website.

Governor Baldacci, in conjunction with the Legislature, created the ConnectME initiative in 2006 to expand broadband throughout Maine. 

“This second round of grants shows that the ConnectME initiative is spurring private investment in broadband and cellular service across Maine,” said Governor Baldacci.  “These investments are enabling people in rural areas enhanced access to technology, transforming our state economy, and expanding business opportunities for more Mainers.”

Grant applications were judged based on a number of criteria, including the projected percentage of households that would be served; the level of public-private partnerships created; the level of community support for the projects; and the financial viability of the projects.  Generally, successful projects are to be completed within one year of receiving the grant funding.

Created under the Connect ME legislation, the Authority contains four members representing the public and private sphere.  The ConnectME Authority is established to stimulate investment in advanced communications technology infrastructure in unserved or underserved areas of Maine, with the emphasis on those areas that are unlikely to receive service from a traditional provider.

These Authority awards go to six innovative applications, five of which will expand access to high speed internet service to over sixty communities that had little prospect of receiving service.  The sixth application proposes to build a fiber optic cable network that will connect three partnering medical centers and seven health care facilities in six towns across Franklin, Oxford, and Androscoggin counties, providing high speed telehealth services.  The ConnectME funds will provide the match requirement for a $3.6 million FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Project grant.

Applicant Communities Served
Axiom Technologies Town of Steuben
Axiom Technologies 31 Towns in Washington County
Cornerstone Communications 17 Towns in Moosehead Lake region
Mainely Wired Town of Penobscot, surrounding area
Redzone Wireless Mount Desert Island, surrounding communities
Franklin Community Health Network Telehealth fiber optic cable network

"While all six projects are exciting and effective solutions to the increasing necessity for broadband services in rural Maine, being able to assist the Franklin Community Health Network is particularly satisfying," said Phil Lindley, Executive Director of the ConnectME Authority.  "This project is a long term investment in the technology infrastructure of a very rural area of Maine that will provide access to state-of-the-art health services as well as providing potential economic development benefits to businesses in the area," he added.

The ConnectME Authority expects to conduct a third round of grant awards next spring, based on funding availability.

For more information on the ConnectME initiative, please go to http://www.maine.gov/connectme/index.shtml.

The members of the Authority are Jean Wilson, Vice President of Information Services at LL Bean, Chair; Mitchel W. Davis, Chief Information Officer for Bowdoin College; Richard B. Thompson, Chief Information Officer for Maine State Government; and Sharon Reishus, Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

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ConnectME Authority Announces First Round of Grants

Seven Grants Totaling More than Three-Quarters of Million Dollars Awarded
The ConnectME Authority has awarded seven grants to expand broadband and mobile communications services to unserved and underserved areas in Maine. A total of more than $787,000 has been awarded to the recipients, expanding services to an estimated 14,400 residents. A list of the grantees and the communities served are shown below and fully listed on the ConnectME Authority's website.

Governor Baldacci, in conjunction with the Legislature, created the ConnectME initiative in 2006 to expand broadband and cellular infrastructure throughout Maine. The grants were awarded Oct. 31.

"The ConnectME initiative is spurring private investment in broadband and cellular service in Maine. These investments are enabling people in rural areas enhanced access to technology, transforming our state economy, and expanding business opportunities for more Mainers," said Governor Baldacci.

Grant applications were judged based on a number of criteria, including the projected percentage of households that would be served; the level of public-private partnerships created; the level of community support for the projects; and the financial viability of the projects. Generally, successful projects are to be completed within one year of receiving the grant funding.

Created under the Connect ME legislation, the Authority contains five members representing the public and private sphere. The ConnectME Authority is established to stimulate investment in advanced communications technology infrastructure in unserved or underserved areas.

"We were pleased to receive seventeen great, and creative, applications and were able to select seven to receive funding which in turn will bring broadband service to over fifty communities that had little prospect of receiving service," said Phil Lindley, Acting Executive Director of the ConnectME Authority. "The applications were competitively scored by a review team that said the decision was made more difficult by the quality of the applications and the high level of interest," he added.

Applicant Communities Served or Service Provider Partner:
Midcoast Internet Solutions, Town of Edgecomb
Somerville, Town of, Midcoast Internet Solutions
Monson, Town of, Cornerstone Communications
Chebeague.net, Inc., Chebeague Island and Mainely Wired
Cornerstone Communications, 25 Communities in Piscataquis County
Axiom Technologies/Mitton Mtn, 18 Communities in Washington County
Redzone Wireless, Mount Desert and Cranberry Isles

The ConnectME Authority expects to conduct another round of grant awards next summer, based on funding availability.

For more information on the ConnectME initiative, please go to http://www.maine.gov/connectme/index.shtml or contact Phil Lindley, Acting Executive Director at 287-1598.

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