Maine-based OTELCO, a telecommunications provider servicing areas of Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia, announced today that it has won a $260,000 ConnectME Authority grant that will allow the company to complete a high-speed fiber optic broadband network to unserved residents of Alton.

OTELCO applied for the ConnectME grant following a March 30 Town Meeting during which Alton residents nearly unanimously voted to appropriate $150,000 toward construction of the Fiber-to-the-Premise project.

This ConnectME grant is the final piece of funding needed to complete the $700,000 construction project which will deliver speeds of at least 100 Mbps symmetrical, meaning 100 Mbps both up and down.  The Alton FTTP project began In 2017 when OTELCO, with a $78,000 matching grant from the ConnectME Authority, built FTTP to 33 underserved premises in Alton and, at OTELCO’s expense, connected an additional 36 homes in Alton.

“Our company was founded by rural Mainers more than a century ago when the major phone companies couldn’t make a business case to deliver telephone service to rural communities,“ commented OTELCO CEO, Rob Souza. “ConnectME’s support of this public/private collaboration with Alton is a critical component to making this project a reality. It will allow OTELCO to maintain our ongoing commitment to working with rural Maine communities and businesses to ensure they have the technology they need to compete and win in today’s economy.”

ConnectME also awarded OTELCO a $6,000 planning grant for Phase 1 of a similar Fiber-to-the-Premise project with Argyle, Maine. Argyle is an unorganized territory and is extremely rural (located about 20 miles north of Bangor in Penobscot County) with about 134 homes over 26.7 square miles. Penobscot County leadership approached OTELCO to explore a FTTP project similar to the Town of Alton fiber expansion build out. This planning grant will allow Argyle to and OTELCO to conduct a community survey, develop a community broadband vision, develop an infrastructure gap analysis, establish a high-level project budget, and explore potential funding sources.

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