OTELCO has received an $81,250 grant from the ConnectME Authority. This grant is a key piece in addition to $162,500 in OTELCO investment and $81,250 in Penobscot County TIF funds to build Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) to the unorganized territory of Argyle.
OTELCO estimates the project will be completed by the end of the year, providing speeds of 100/100, 300/300 and 1Gbps/1Gbps to residents of Argyle. The new network will service 134 locations in Argyle, where DSL is currently providing speeds that rarely exceed 6/1.
In this grant round, the ConnectME Authority received requests totaling more than $3,000,000. With approximately $400,000 in available funds to award, the vast majority of submitted projects went unfunded in this round. While this grant awarded by the ConnectME Authority will help deliver service to approximately 982 locations, there were approximately 4,356 locations whose projects were turned away for lack of available funding.
“We’re very pleased to be able to move forward with connecting the community of Argyle, but there are so many others around Maine that are unserved,” said Trevor Jones, Vice President of Customer Service and Marketing at OTELCO. “What people might not realize is that the ConnectME Authority that supports these projects is funded by surcharges on telephone bills. Those bills are continually diminishing as people move away from traditional landlines, and ConnectME’s funds are declining with them. We need to supplement the existing funding to meet the demand for broadband in Maine.”
Mainers have an opportunity to substantially increase funding for Internet expansion into unserved areas by voting on a $15 million broadband bond, listed as Question 1 on the ballot in the upcoming July 14 election. If passed, the money would be administered by the ConnectME Authority for broadband expansion to unserved areas in Maine.