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Maine's Digital Equity Plan first in the U.S. to be accepted by the federal government

Maine Digital Equity Plan is the first in the country to be approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The approval unlocks $12 to $14 million in funding. Maine Connectivity Authority spokesperson Brian Allenby says priorities in the plan include expanding broadband infrastructure as well as education.

"Even if we had enough money to connect every single person, home, and business in the state to fiber optic internet, if those folks don't have skills, they can't navigate the internet safely, they don't have devices, and really if they can't afford it - affordability is a huge part of our digital equity plan - we haven't accomplished our mission," he says.

Allenby says philanthropic support will also be needed to fully implement the plan He says between 50 to 60-thousand locations in Maine don't have access to fast, reliable internet.