Maine Democrats Back $15M Broadband Access Proposal

The bill comes on the heels of a new broadband plan developed by the ConnectME Authority earlier this month. Under the proposal, the money would come from the state’s general fund.

by Scott Thistle, Portland Press Herald / January 28, 2020
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(TNS) — Democrats will renew their push for rural broadband expansion Tuesday when they unveil a new bill that aims to use $15 million in state funds to help expand broadband access across the state.

Sen. Erin Herbig of Belfast, sponsor of the measure, will discuss details at a press conference before a 1 p.m. hearing by the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. Nine other Senate and House Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors.

The bill comes on the heels of a new broadband plan developed by the ConnectME Authority earlier this month.

Jim Buckle, Owner of Buckle Farm in Unity and President of the Maine Farm Bureau, is expected to speak at the press conference. Funding broadband expansion has been a recurrent issue for the Legislature, which failed to advance a borrowing package to voters in 2019 that would have included funding for broadband infrastructure expansion.

The bill before the energy committee on Tuesday would channel a $15 million appropriation from the state’s General Fund to the ConnectME Authority for use towards putting its plan in action.

©2020 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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