Biddeford Internet Corporation, d.b.a GWI, was awarded over $9 million in grant funding from the ConnectME Authority to build high-speed fiber optic broadband networks in the Towns of Hebron, Sumner, and Northport. GWI was one of a handful of applicants to receive grants from the ConnectME Authority, Maine’s agency for promotion of broadband, in their most recent round of funding. The grant funding will allow GWI to build nearly universal service to three municipalities that are in dire need of fast, reliable internet infrastructure. In addition, some neighboring towns will also reap the benefits of the network construction, though they were not directly involved in the project.
The grant award will be coupled with contributions from all three of the Towns as well as GWI’s private investment to construct networks that will cover over 200 route miles and pass roughly 2,000 potential customers. “We are enormously proud of receiving the grant award from ConnectMaine and are incredibly excited to fulfill our obligations to bring gigabit fiber optic infrastructure and service to the communities,” said Kerem Durdag, GWI President and Chief Operating Officer. “We believe internet access and affordability is a human right and as such, as a B Corp certified company, continue our work endlessly to ensure the future generations of Maine have one of the elemental building blocks of civilization at hand.”
GWI is currently working with the ConnectME Authority on the details of the grant and is expecting to have an updated timeline for project commencement and associated construction and service availability milestones soon. “Sustainable, affordable broadband from GWI will make it possible for residents to participate more fully in the modern economy, to take greater advantage of educational opportunities, and generally to participate on an equal footing in the evolution of technology in American life,” stated Karl Beiser, member of the Northport Broadband Internet Committee. “We are extremely pleased that ConnectMaine has awarded a grant to bring fiber broadband within reach of every resident of Northport.”
“GWI and the Town of Hebron have been working together for several years on the mission to build out fiber in our unserved community,” stated Elizabeth Olsen, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen of Hebron. “Hebron appreciates the energy and money GWI has invested into this project and is delighted to celebrate the acceptance of the grant funding so we can see the completion of bringing broadband to Hebron. Residents and students who have been unable to participate virtually in school and work will finally be able to do so from home along with so many other opportunities broadband will provide.”
“The desire and need to have high speed internet in Sumner is critical to our community,” stated Mary Ann Haxton, Chair of the Sumner Broadband Committee. “Our businesses, schools, and elderly population who require tele-medicine need reliable internet in order to operate and enhance their livelihood. High-speed internet will enable us to offer options to retain our younger population or sustain and attract new businesses to the area. We are very excited about the funding and the ensuing project.”