ME Broadband, News You Can Use

Keeping you up to speed with Maine's bits and bytes News and Resources Maine’s new broadband agency gearing up to manage flood of federal cash 08.11.21 by Peter McGuire The Maine Connectivity Authority will manage a historic investment of at least $250 million toward building universal high-speed internet service. Portland Press Herald 12 Maine towns and organizations awarded $5M for economic development 08.11.21 by Catie Joyce-Bulay Axiom Education & Training Center in Machias will receive $150,000 to support digital literacy skills learning for approximately 10,000 adult learners throughout Maine. Mainebiz What the $65B broadband service plan in the infrastructure bill will do 08.11.21 by Tali Arbel Tali Arbel provides a breakdown of the broadband service plan in the infrastructure bill, outlining its goals to address the digital divide, focus on affordability, and provide money for networks. News Center Maine Sen. King: Infrastructure plan will build bridge across digital divide 08.10.21 by Senator Angus King In a bipartisan bill that has passed the U.S. Senate puts broadband internet on par with roads and port facilities as a building block of the national economy. centralmaine Susan Collins, Angus King hail Senate passage of $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill 08.10.21 by The Associated Press With a robust vote after weeks of fits and starts, the Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan on Tuesday, a rare coalition of Democrats and Republicans joining to overcome skeptics and deliver a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Bangor Daily News Study: 40.2% of consumers would consider switching to municipal broadband if made available 07.31.21 by Reviews.com Staff A recent study conducted by the Reviews.com Broadband Research Team about municipal broadband found a growing number of U.S. residents are excited about the prospect of internet service as a utility. ZD Net The Digital Equity Act would be a start, but we must do more 07.27.21 by Alan Berry Investments in broadband are sorely needed, especially in rural Maine as King discussed in a March BDN column. Improvements in technology and online accessibility for people with disabilities are also necessary, as is more investment in and expansion of digital skills training for underserved communities. These kinds of investments, which would be supported through the Digital Equity Act, are a long time coming and will go a long way toward closing the digital divide, but they don’t go far enough towards achieving digital equity. Bangor Daily News State Lawmakers and Policy Leaders Discuss What’s Needed to Close the Digital Divide 07.14.21 by Kathryn de Wit On June 23, state lawmakers and policymakers discussed their roles in providing universal broadband access in a webinar convened by The Pew Charitable Trusts. And though the experiences in their states—West Virginia, Colorado, and Virginia—were unique, the officials identified common factors that will help bring internet throughout the United States. The Pew Charitable Trusts NACo Broadband Task Force: High-Speed Internet Is Essential For All Counties July 2021 by the NACo Broadband Task Force The National Association of Counties (NACO) Broadband Task Force recently released the following report outlining the task force's preliminary findings on best broadband practices and policy recommendations. High-Speed Internet Is Essential For All Counties From Our Blog Principles for Infrastructure Funding For Maine's Federal Delegation by Andrew Butcher Andrew Butcher addresses Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden to outline principles Maine Broadband Coalition hopes they will maintain in their advocacy for high speed internet infrastructure. Click here to go to post Upcoming EventsMaine Connectivity Authority Board Meeting Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST Join the Maine Connectivity Authority for their first board meeting. Location: Burton M. Cross Building 111 Sewall St. Augusta, ME Third Floor West Conference Room. Please let Cheryl Breault (cheryl.breault@maine.gov) know if you will be attending in person. Remote Zoom available here Let's Talk Broadband Join Island Institute for their open hour session to chat all things broadband every Friday at 11AM. They welcome anyone interested in broadband or wanting to know more. Click here to join NTIA Webinars NTIA will host webinars in connection with the three new broadband grant programs authorized and funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: The Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. The webinars are designed to help prospective applicants understand the grant programs and to assist applicants to prepare high quality grant applications. Click here to see all events Broadband Training and Community of Practice Survey Call to Action If you are interested in being a potential candidate in a new training, education and technical assistance effort produced by the Maine Broadband Coalition to launch in the fall of 2021, click here to fill out this survey. Please help us better understand your needs, interest and status. Volunteer with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center Call to Action Do you have a tech background and are interested in volunteering your time with the ITDRC? Click here to learn more Funding Opportunities Department of Commerce’s NTIA to Begin Accepting Applications for $268 Million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which will direct $268 million for expanding broadband access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Completed applications must be received by www.grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 1, 2021. Click here to learn more. NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program NTIA released the availability of $288 million in grant funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure. These grants will be awarded to partnerships between a state, or political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service. Completed applications must be received by www.grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 17, 2021. Click here to learn more. FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 Click here to take the test

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