Maine submitted its five-year broadband action plan to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) this month, following a public comment period that closed in June.
Maine is one of the first states to submit its full plan to NTIA, following Delaware.
The plan is the state’s next step to get access to the $272 million awarded through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
NTIA requires that states submit a five-year action plan that dictates how the state will use the money, a digital equity plan, an initial proposal, and a final proposal for subgrant processes.
The plan outlines priorities for investment in broadband and serves as the state’s “road map to bring the economic, health, education, and social benefits of high-speed internet to all Mainers,” the state said.
According to the plan, the state will prioritize expanding a data-driven transparent approach to broadband, grow and strengthen the ecosystem by nurturing relationships and collaboration with partners and residents, and leverage networks of opportunity.
Also included in the plan are steps to prioritize investment impact through a broadband mapping and analysis platform, lead the state’s interagency broadband working group to coordinate broadband implementation with climate resilience and affordable housing among other statewide initiatives, and establish a connectivity hubs program to support education, workforce, and telehealth programming.
Once initial proposals are approved by the administration, states will have access to at least 20 percent of allocated funds.
According to the NTIA’s website, Delaware is the only other state that has submitted its five-year action plan to NTIA. Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Vermont have all released five-year action plan drafts for public comment.