Broadband grants signal upgrades for some local communities

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 3:45pm

Searsport, Vinalhaven, and St. George are among 13 communities across Maine to be awarded Community Broadband grants through the Maine Community Foundation. A total of $117,793 in grant money was awarded.

The program aims to increase the number of Maine people, communities, and businesses with access to high-speed internet service and improve skills, knowledge, and opportunity to effectively use the technology.

“Increasingly, quality of life—and communication—for Maine people, communities, and businesses is improved by the ability to access reliable, affordable high-speed internet,” said Maggie Drummond-Bahl, MaineCF senior program officer. “We are proud to be one of many partners helping to boost local and regional efforts to improve connectivity across Maine.”

St. George Community Development Corporation will use its funds to sustain the administrative support, community education, and grant preparation efforts to address the “last mile problem” in St. George: $9,735

Town of Searsport plans to install community access hotspots to provide wireless broadband internet access to residents, businesses, and visitors to the downtown area: $12,568

Town of Vinalhaven intends to design and implement a campaign to explore community preferences for local broadband options and rally support behind a chosen solution for universal affordable access: $10,000

2020 Grant recipients also include: 

Alexander Broadband Project, to help offset the cost of providing high-speed internet service to residents and joining Downeast Broadband Utility, a nonprofit that is bringing high-speed broadband internet to rural Maine communities: $10,000

Greater East Grand Broadband Task Force, to complete the funding match for the phase 1 ConnectMaine project and provide funds to prepare the ConnectMaine phase 2 infrastructure grant application in 2021: $15,000

Opportunity Center of North Franklin County Inc., to begin implementation project resulting from county-wide broadband plan, running Fiber-to-the-Home in six of thirty-six communities: $10,000

Town of Denmark, to engage residents in broadband goals, starting with committee outreach and ending with a network design project to expand presently poor broadband coverage: $6,000

Town of Fryeburg, to implement a community-involved process to plan for the eventual build-out of reliable high-speed internet to serve area residents: $5,000

Town of Harrison, to establish or upgrade affordable, accessible, and quality broadband service to the entire community: $4,500

Town of Lisbon, to create two public WiFi "hot spots" in strategic locations in Lisbon to enable universal internet connectivity and enable entrepreneurial and youth and adult educational initiatives: $2,950

Town of Litchfield, to provide affordable broadband to the unserved or underserved while improving the digital literacy of the community: $7,000

Town of Naples, to conduct a town-wide community needs assessment to determine if residents and business owners have adequate access to broadband internet services: $10,000

Western Kennebec Lakes Community Broadband Association, to develop a community outreach program, conduct community surveys, review proposals and negotiate with internet service providers to improve services in the region for underserved/unserved customers: $15,000

A complete list of 2020 grants is available at and below. The Community Broadband Grant Program will continue in 2021. Details will be available at The deadline for applications will be October 15, 2021. 

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit