By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
New England communities unserved and underserved in high-speed internet are sharing more than $1.097 billion in federal funding.
From $42.45 billion of high-speed internet grants in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, Maine will receive $271 million, Vermont $228 million, New Hampshire $196 million, Massachusetts $147 million, Connecticut $144 million and Rhode Island $108 million.
The program to expand broadband across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico is administered through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, former governor of Rhode Island, announced the funding through President Joe Biden’s “Investing in America” platform.
“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed internet service now – you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good-paying jobs building internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”
Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills called the funding “historic in scale” and “historic in impact.”
“With this unprecedented federal investment – the largest we have ever received – the Maine Connectivity Authority can take huge strides in bringing high-speed internet to more Maine people and in fulfilling my promise to make an internet connection available to everyone in Maine who wants one,” Mills said in a statement.
“Permanently closing the digital divide is the top shared policy priority for private internet service providers and public policymakers,” said Tim Wilkerson, president of the New England Connectivity and Telecommunications Association. “Private broadband providers have previously and continuously invested billions of dollars building out and increasing the capacity of their networks across the region.
“The infusion of hundreds of millions of federal dollars presents a unique opportunity to slam shut the digital divide for broadband access once and for all – but only by investing the money in a way that truly connects people to a reliable network.”