Charter and Comcast added more state broadband funding to their coffers as the state of Maine announced $20 million in awards to nine providers in its Reach Me line extension program.
The program pays some of the costs for providers to extend service to unserved locations in their service area.
Charter was the big winner and is slated to receive nearly $6.9 million. Comcast will receive $276,000.
Other providers winning funding in the program, in descending order by amount won, were:
- UniTel- $3.3 million
- Tidewater Telecom (LCI)- $2.5 million
- GoNetSpeed- $2.5 million
- GWI- $1.8 million
- TDS Telecommunications- $1.3 million
- Premium Choice Broadband- $928,792
- Consolidated Communications- $667,091
The funding will reach 74 communities in 14 counties and will make broadband at speeds of at least 100 Mbps symmetrically available to over 6,300 homes and businesses.
Construction must be completed by 2025.
Providers will contribute an additional $13 million toward deployment costs. The providers are required to contribute at least $700 per location.
Projects are prioritized based on the level of service to be offered, the amount of funding needed and proposals that address affordability of service. The Reach Me line extension program is one of several Maine broadband funding programs. Earlier this year, Consolidated, TDS and others won $34 million in funding through the state’s Connect the Ready program.
The Maine broadband line extension program is unlike the other program in that it is only open to providers that already serve parts of the targeted area. In that regard, it’s similar to the approach used in the original Connect America Fund program, where incumbent price cap telcos were offered funding to bring service to parts of their local territory. That program was different, however, in that the FCC offered each provider a specific amount of funding to bring service to target locations, and the providers chose whether to accep the funding and the build-out obligations.