Maine's original BEAD proposal approved; way cleared for spending


A recent approval cleared the way for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) spending in Maine.

By: Brad Randall, Broadband Communities

Maine will now have access to over $271 million to expand broadband infrastructure after federal officials approved the second part of their original BEAD proposal this week.

The proposal, which identified priorities for broadband investments, was approved along with the second part of Kentucky's original proposal.

Governor Janet Mills thanked the President and Maine's congressional delegation for their work in passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes a $42.45 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed internet access across the United States.

“My administration and the Maine Connectivity Authority will continue our intensive work to provide internet connection to every Maine person who wants it,” Mills said, according to a June 17 press release from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Mills also explained the importance of broadband for Maine.

“Reliable internet access is a critical factor in ensuring that rural states like Maine can fully participate in our modern, globally connected economy,” the governor said. “With this approval, Maine can now use historic federal resources to bring internet access to more Mainers, opening up new opportunities in commerce, education, telemedicine and more.”

The state is now expected to submit its final BEAD proposal in June 2025. It will detail the selected sub-beneficiaries and explain how the state will ensure coverage for unserved or underserved sites.

According to the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), once deployment goals are met, remaining funds can be used for Internet deployment, training and staff development.

Maine's five-year action plan was submitted to the NTIA last August, followed shortly thereafter by the submission of Maine's Digital Equity Plan in September 2023.

Both volumes of the state's original BEAD proposal are available online at the Maine Connectivity Authority website.

Approvals are ongoing

In a June 17 press release, the NTIA said the agency will continue to announce approval of initial BEAD proposals on an ongoing basis.

Last week, the NTIA approved proposals from Colorado and New Hampshire that would give both states access to BEAD funds.

This means that New Hampshire can now apply for access to more than $196 million in BEAD funding for broadband expansion. Colorado, on the other hand, a larger state in terms of area and population, can apply for $826 million.

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