It will cost $27 million to expand Internet in Piscataquis County, new study finds

According to a new broadband planning report, it will cost an estimated $27 million to expand broadband coverage to unserved areas in Piscataquis County.

The Piscataquis County Economic Development Council followed suit, which cost $60,000 and began about three to four months ago. The council received a $30,000 grant from the ConnectMaine Authority, which was matched with $30,000 of American Rescue Plan Act monies from cities and municipalities to fund it.

Internet access in rural areas of Maine has long been a problem for businesses and most recently for students being sent home from school for distance learning during COVID-19 outbreaks. Consulting firm Casco Bay Advisors assessed broadband infrastructure in Piscataquis County, identifying gaps and how to fill them. The report proposes building strong community relationships and establishing a broadband advisory committee in the province, along with adequate funding, as next steps to improve broadband across the country.

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