PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – FairPoint officials say the University of Maine System is unfairly competing with the company for federal funds to improve broadband access in the state.

FairPoint lobbyist Severin Beliveau says the playing field isn’t level because the private sector is in effect competing for stimulus money against a publicly subsidized entity. UMS is one member of a private-public partnership that’s seeking federal money.

The complaints are surfacing as the state Broadband Strategy Council evaluates which projects it’ll back for stimulus funds.

At least one project in Maine will be funded under the $7 billion set aside in the recovery act to improve broadband across the country.

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