ACTION ALERT: Key bills to be voted on to improve Maine's Broadband
June is upon us, and the Legislature has shifted from committee work to full House and Senate sessions where the bills worked in committee are considered by the full legislature. Several critical broadband bills have come out of the committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology in a strong position and we are confident of affirmative votes there. Even the decision to hold off on a state broadband bond for now is a solid win for broadband supporters. See a little context on MBC policy and legislative priorities in a blog here. Critical bills to track and weigh in on:
LD 1484 - (Bennett, R - Oxford): An act to create a new Maine Connectivity Authority which will serve as the primary mechanism to implement Maine's broadband allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act - approximately $130M. Unprecedented times call for transformative solutions. This bipartisan legislation represents the best solution to do the things we've never been able to do in Maine.
LD 1219 - (Tuell, R - Washington): An act to create a third party administrator to manage the data and information around utility poles. If enacted with the Amendment the Broadband Coalition has proposed - this will significantly reduce delay times for project builds making service more available, affordable, and timely.
LD 1432 - (Berry, D - Bowdoinham): An act to update the Municipal Gigabyte Broadband Network Access Fund. This fund has never been structured right nor capitalized. If passed there will be an incentive for ultrahigh-speed internet via locally controlled public networks. This will help create more competition for quality internet service....all of which are things MBC supports.
******************* ACTION: Please contact your Representative and/or Senator to let them know these Bills are critical to the future of affordable, reliable, and accessible high speed internet for everyone. ******************* High Fives!
LD 1235 (Bennett, R- Oxford): - $100M Bond for High Speed Internet Infrastructure is likely to be carried over to next legislative session. This makes sense given the influx of Federal recovery funding - but make no mistake - just like your missing socks - federal grants are going to need a match. The State of Maine MUST continue to find it's own funding to match a growing pool of federal resources. (What we have gotten this year via Federal funds - won't get us to where we need to go.)
Hey - while we are at it - lets take a moment to celebrate that the $15M voters approved last summer has hit the streets via the most recent round of Connect Maine Authority grants. Thanks to the Connect Maine Team and congrats to the 20+ successful communities and partners.
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