Get Ready Community Support Program
The Get Ready Community Support program will accelerate community broadband planning at a regional scale through tailored technical assistance and the coordination of multiple professional service providers to support participants.
This fall, we will establish an initial cohort of up to 20 applicants (regardless of region or singular community effort). Through this approach, we hope to make the planning process more efficient for all public and private partners working to achieve Maine's connectivity goals while building a pipeline of private-public partnerships ready to leverage and accelerate future state funding deployment.
Based on prior planning and partnerships, members of the Get Ready cohort will receive one or more of the following through MCA's stable of professional services:
- Up to $10,000 per community to fund local engagement efforts
- High-level network design
- Capital cost analysis with narrative
- Technical guidance on project viability
- RFP design
- Legal assistance
- Digital inclusion planning
- Project management and facilitation support
How to Apply
Eligible entities seeking to receive technical assistance should complete the application in this grants portal. Applications are due by October 28, 2022. The application will not assume communities requesting assistance have completed substantial planning but will encourage those that have performed prior planning or study work to share information already developed.
Accepted applications will be awarded in early November, and an initial Cohort 1 meeting will take place within two weeks following awards.
- Engagement Session: August 24, 2022 (watch the recording)
- Application Opens: September 6, 2022
- Applicant Webinar: September 19, 2022, at 12 pm (register here)
- Application Deadline: October 28, 2022
- Accelerate community broadband planning at a regional scale through tailored technical assistance and the coordination of multiple professional service providers to support participants.
- Develop financial projections to support sustainable network design for communities and regions.
- Align regional needs and statewide vision for universal connectivity.
- Build a pipeline of infrastructure-ready projects and partnerships.
Who is eligible to apply?
To be eligible for this grant program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Represent a single or a collaboration of municipalities, broadband utility districts, economic development corporations, county-level administration entities
- Those representing municipalities should have a mandate from a select board, city council, or other governing body
Ineligible applicants include, but are not limited to:
- Internet service providers
- Communities planned to be served by NTIA: Mountains to the Sea funding
- Communities receiving prior ConnectMaine Authority infrastructure and planning funding
We expect awarded applicants to be able to invest time into forming a partnership with MCA, our stable of professional service providers, and their current or future private sector partner to ensure the success of their planning process. There is no financial commitment required for applicants. Deliverables expected from the awardee include, but are not limited to:
- Local and/or regional community engagement events
- Development of local communication channels focused on broadband
- Municipal government education and liaison
- Involvement in data collection and verification
- Accelerating collection of digital asset inventory
- Digital equity planning support and implementation
Criteria & Priorities
Program priorities for the first round of Get Ready will be in two categories:
- Eligible areas that have already begun either community-driven broadband planning; defined connectivity goals; engaged and assessed their community to define a distinct ownership and/or partnership model; and are focused on applying for state infrastructure funding in Spring 2023.
- Eligible areas embarking on broadband planning through a mandate from their municipality's governing body.
MCA will allocate $13 million from Maine Jobs & Recovery Program for the Get Ready: Community Support program over a series of cohorts to build a pipeline for future infrastructure funding rounds. Grant funds will be available for eligible applicants to support community engagement and other professional assistance needed to maintain participation in the Get Ready program.
Reporting and Compliance
The First Cohort will be awarded in early November 2022. The first portion of this cohort will be on an accelerated track working toward receiving Connect the Ready funding in early 2023. The second portion of the cohort will be operating on a 12-month timeline, working toward funding in late 2023. Reporting and success metrics will be determined at the time of award.