Consolidated Communications to Deliver Fidium Fiber Internet to 22,000 Rural Maine Homes and Businesses through Connect Maine Partnership
Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL) a leading broadband and business communications provider, today announced it will bring Fidium fiber internet to 22,000 rural Maine homes and businesses as part of the Connect Maine Partnership, supported by a $18.3 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
This project will bolster Consolidated's ongoing work to build fiber-to-the-premises broadband networks to more than 70% of the Company's service area by 2025. With this additional funding and a company investment of $5.5 million, Consolidated will deliver gigabit fiber internet to more than 22,000 homes and businesses on Blue Hill Peninsula, the Rangeley area and the town of Farmington.
"Consolidated Communications is thrilled to be part of this partnership with Connect Maine, which will enable us to expand Fidium fiber internet to even more unserved rural areas of Maine," said Erik Garr, president of consumer and small business for Consolidated Communications. "This public private partnership enables broadband connectivity which will result in economic, employment and quality of life benefits, ultimately improving how residents work and live."
The state of Maine currently ranks 32nd in broadband access, but is making great strides in improving connectivity in rural areas thanks to newly available federal and local funding, and investment from providers like Consolidated. The ConnectMaine project's network construction is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2022. Elsewhere in the state, Consolidated is already building fiber networks in Bangor, Portland and Rockland as the Company works to deliver reliable, high-speed internet to more than 450,000 homes and businesses in Maine by 2025.
"We are excited to learn that we have been awarded NTIA Grant funds as part of the ConnectMaine Authority Statewide Broadband Infrastructure project," said Joe Roach, town manager of the Town of Rangeley. "Reliable broadband will enrich the lives of the Rangeley region's residents, students, businesses and visitors. The efforts of the Town of Rangeley, Sandy River Plantation, Dallas Plantation, and Rangeley Plantation to pursue a meaningful solution for broadband have been significant and time-consuming. We are thankful for the diligent work of our partner, Consolidated Communications, for helping to bring our broadband vision to this point."
"This is absolutely amazing news and something we've been working towards for several years as a group of towns on the Blue Hill Peninsula," said Butler Smythe, member of the Blue Hill Broadband Committee and Peninsula Utility for Broadband Committee. "The time and effort put in by all in our Peninsula group and the town broadband committees, mean that thousands of residents will be connected to a future-proof internet service. This will mean so much to parents, businesses, homeowners, renters, and everyone who relies on the internet. Thank you to ConnectMaine and Consolidated Communications for supporting our Peninsula."
Consolidated Communications has a strong track record of delivering high-quality internet service to rural areas through public private partnerships, with 20 community network builds complete, and many more underway. These community networks connect 34,000 rural homes and businesses in New Hampshire, New York and Maine today.
NTIA grants are awarded for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to partnerships between a public entity and providers of fixed broadband service. Consolidated partnered with the Connect Maine Authority for the NTIA grant application to bring broadband to rural regions of the state.
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