Maine Awards Community Anchor Institutions $12M

The money will fund digital improvements to 12 community organizations across Maine.

Maine Awards Community Anchor Institutions $12M
Photo of Deputy Secretary of the DoT Wally Adeyemo on March 14, 2022

June 28, 2024 – The Maine Connectivity Authority awarded more than $12 million in grants to fund digital improvements to community organizations across the state on Friday.

The grants will go to 12 community organizations as part of the MCA's Connectivity Hubs Program, which helps community anchor institutions provide workforce training, digital literacy education and telehealth services. Community anchor institutions include libraries, community centers, municipal and tribal buildings, and affordable housing developments.

The program is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Projects Fund, a federal fund intended to support critical capital projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, administered by the Department of Treasury.

“Ensuring Americans have access to reliable, high-speed internet is crucial to helping families succeed in the 21st century economy,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. “This investment is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to unlock economic opportunities for everyone and to ensure families have access to critical work, education, and health care services.”

The money will fund construction and renovation of these community anchor institutions. "These improvements will create space for people to access educational and workforce training programs, use telehealth to improve access to care, and provide access to high-speed internet, computers, and technical support, especially for those facing the most barriers to connecting," said MCA.

“There’s no single solution that will make fast, reliable internet available to everyone in Maine who wants it,” said Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. “The Connectivity Hub program makes critical investments in community organizations so they can help all people in Maine fully realize the civic, economic, health, educational, and social benefits of that connection.”

Economic and Community Development Director of the town of Stonington Linda Nelson said that the grant "is essential to our shared community vision for moving Stonington and the regional fishing communities for which it is already a service center into a bright and shining future. "

She added that the money will turn a school building "into a shining portal to the future through navigation services, tools and support for the climate, workforce, and healthcare transitions we are experiencing."

The largest single award announced Friday was $1.8 million to Caribou Public Library.

Earlier this month, Maine's Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program entered its rebuttal phase where internet service providers and other eligible challengers have the opportunity to agree or disagree with the challenges made to the state broadband coverage map.

Maine was awarded $272 million through the BEAD program, and is expected to take 6 years to complete. The state’s first volume of its BEAD initial proposal was approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in December. Approval for volume two is still undergoing.

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