ConnectMaine's Peggy Schaffer on the challenges with federal funding

NASHVILLE Fiber Connect 2022 Peggy Schaffer, executive director of Maine's state broadband authority, ConnectMaine, joined Light Reading at the Fiber Connect conference last week to discuss the work her office has done to expand broadband connectivity in the state.

"We just gave out about $15 million in funding, which is the biggest amount we've ever given out," said Schaffer. "We estimate we have about [80,000] people who don't have ... at least a 25/3 connection. And so between our last couple rounds of grants ... we've knocked about 35,000 people off of that list."

She also discussed the Biden administration's $65 billion broadband legislation and why she's not exactly optimistic about the federal broadband map that the FCC is set to release this fall.

Here are just a few topics discussed in this video:

  • Background on ConnectMaine and the Maine Connectivity Authority (00:23)
  • State of the digital divide in Maine (01:40)
  • Maine's expectations for new broadband infrastructure funding (02:45)
  • The importance of the Digital Equity Act (04:47)
  • The FCC's forthcoming broadband map (06:40)
  • Challenges with applying for federal funds (08:15)

Related stories and links:

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading; and Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Broadband World News

6/20/2022 |
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