On Friday, December 2, the Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) announced 26 awards totaling more than $4 million in funding and support to community, regional and tribal organizations through the Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners and Get Ready Community Support programs. These initiatives will support community-driven broadband solutions that ensure universal connectivity, strengthen and grow the number of partners thinking about digital equity and inclusion, and create increased alignment and coordination between communities, regions, and the state. Both programs are funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program and are part of MCA’s All-In Program that will bring high-speed broadband to over 30,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas.

 The Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners Program will help deploy, sustain and maximize the benefits of broadband infrastructure investment in all state regions. Each partner will build and lead digital inclusion efforts in each of their regions and tribes while also providing support for community and regional-scale broadband infrastructure solutions and investments.

 Sunrise County Economic Council was among the 26 Fall 2022 award recipients which included a variety of regional and tribal entities. In total SCEC was awarded $203,373 from the MCA in partnership with the Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC) and National Digital Equity Center (NDEC).

“SCEC is excited to see this significant investment in Washington County,” said Charles Rudelitch, Executive Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council. “People here need accessible, affordable high-speed internet access, and this investment is an important step in building the networks that will allow Washington County residents to realize the educational, economic, health and other important benefits that high-speed internet can provide.”

In addition to the Regional & Tribal Broadband Partners Program, The Get Ready Community Support program will invest $1 million in accelerated community broadband planning at a regional scale through tailored technical assistance and the coordination of multiple professional service providers to support participants. Through this approach, MCA aims to make the planning process more efficient and to build a pipeline of private-public partnerships ready to leverage and accelerate future deployment of statewide broadband funding.

 “The pandemic has taught us that high-speed connectivity is crucial for education, commerce, telehealth and dealing with isolation,” said Greene resident Carl Bucciantini. Our Broadband Committee is excited to be awarded this grant which will help identify the need and chart a path to high-speed, affordable internet access for all residents.” 

Among the recipients of this grant are the Eastport Fiber Connectivity Committee, and Four Directions/Wabanaki Nations (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point).

Members of the first Get Ready cohort will receive up to $10,000 in direct funding in addition to professional services contracted through MCA. Services include technical support to develop high-level network designs, financial support to develop a capital cost analysis, legal assistance, and project management and meeting facilitation support. These services will be customized for each community group to complement their prior planning efforts and existing partnerships.

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