FAYETTE — Officials will have to wait another month to hear if they qualify for a $2.6 million Maine Connectivity Authority grant for high-speed internet after the organization postponed approval to late March and requested more information.

If the grant is approved March 24, residents could have internet by the end of 2024.

The approval would be greatly needed because about 95% of the town is considered “least served” by the connectivity authority. “Least served” is the organization’s lowest speed ranking, and it means connection speeds are slower than 25 megabits per second for downloads and slower than 5 megabits per second for uploads.

The grant would involve Matrix Design Group constructing a hub for fiber-optic equipment and devices on town-owned land.

If successful, the service would have a tier for residents through the Affordable Connectivity program offering a connection with a download and upload speed of 50 megabits per second for $30 a month or 100 Mbps symmetrical for $59.99 a month.

The highest tier of service would be offered at $199 per month, and provide 1 gigabit-per-second symmetrical speeds.


Approval would mark the end of a long road for Fayette, which has sought better internet service for several months.

Last June, the town in Kennebec County had two questions about high-speed internet on the ballot asking voters if they would support a municipally owned service or a wireless provider coming into town.

Both questions were shot down, which Town Manager Mark Robinson said was likely because the vote was fractured between two choices.

In November, the town asked if voters supported high-speed internet funded by any means, outside of using tax dollars. The question was overwhelmingly approved, with 572 in favor and 179 opposed.

Chris Lynch, director of business development for Matrix’s New England Division, said the full project is estimated to cost $4 million, which includes the utility company’s make-ready costs. He said Matrix would cover everything after the $2.6 million grant is approved, including cost overruns and all of the operating expenses.

Fayette residents at a recent town meeting also approved spending $135,000 on the project.


Robinson said the money is surplus and not tied to the current or upcoming tax year.

Lynch said the money would be used to implement a digital equity and inclusion plan, which is separate from construction of the network.

While the grant was set for approval Feb. 24, Robinson said the Last Mile Infrastructure Grants Committee and MCA agreed they need more information about Matrix’s existing subscriber base before approval.

If the grant is approved later this month, Matrix would begin work immediately and open presubscription to Fayette residents.

“This would be a no obligation opportunity for residents to express their interest and for us to be able to keep them informed of the progress of the project,” Lynch said. “Actual service would not start until about 10 months after the applications to attach our fiber are submitted to the utility companies.”

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