The Biden administration is sending $272 million to Maine in an ambitious effort to expand high-speed internet in the state and bring broadband to 94,000 homes and businesses that lack reliable service.

Maine’s allocation, part of a $42 billion package aimed at delivering high-speed connectivity to every corner of the United States, is the highest amount among the New England states. The money will be spent primarily on getting access to underserved communities in rural parts of the state.

President Biden and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the state awards on Monday. The funding will be distributed over the next five years.

The Maine Connectivity Authority recently outlined a plan for using the federal funds. Officials had expected to receive more than $200 million, and the grant award exceeded their hopes.

“This allocation is tens of millions more than anticipated,” said Andrew Butcher, authority president.

Butcher said Maine got such a robust award because the state was well prepared to make a pitch for federal assistance. That preparation included the 2021 creation of the quasi-governmental authority by Gov. Janet Mills, he said.


Maine also is getting more than any other New England state because the problem here is more acute.

“Maine’s allocation was larger than other New England states because the scale of the problem we’re working to address is the largest,” authority spokesperson Brian Allenby said.

According to the federal allocation formula, there are 42,264 homes and businesses in Maine that currently have no connection to the internet, compared with 33,646 in Vermont, 25,572 in New Hampshire, 12,522 in Massachusetts, 11,693 in Connecticut and 2,309 in Rhode Island, Allenby said.

Vermont received the second-largest award in New England, $229 million.

Mills said the grant award, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is the largest Maine has ever received to build out broadband internet service.

“This grant funding is historic in scale, and it will be historic in impact,” Mills said in a written statement.


Mills, a Democrat, credited Maine’s congressional delegation and the Biden administration for helping to fulfill her promise “to make an internet connection available to everyone in Maine who wants one.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, co-authored the law’s broadband provisions with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical to the vitality of rural communities,” Collins said in a written statement. “From spurring job creation to supporting telemedicine and education, the internet unlocks almost endless benefits and possibilities.”

Sen. Angus King, an independent, is co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus and has advocated for expanding affordable broadband access for more than a decade.

“This technology will help connect thousands of Maine households and businesses to the infrastructure that powers 21st-century life, and enable communities across the nation to fully engage in the 21st-century economy,” King said in a written statement.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said she was happy to help secure funding to expand affordable high-speed internet to many Mainers who are doing without.


“This significant federal investment will help close the digital divide that impacts businesses and families across our state,” Pingree said in a written statement.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is expected to bring about $2.5 billion to Maine over the next five years for critical broadband, transportation, energy and environmental projects.

In December, Maine received $5.5 million to plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband service throughout the state. Earlier this month, the Maine Connectivity Authority was awarded $30 million from the bill’s “Middle Mile” broadband infrastructure grant program.

Since its inception, the authority has facilitated more than $100 million in investments to enable over 53,000 connections across the state.

The Maine Connectivity Authority is looking for public comments on its Broadband Action Plan. More information can be found at

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