Brian Lippold, left, of Casco Bay Advisors shared with the Wilton selectboard on Tuesday, Feb. 6, that CCI would be taking over the MCA grant from Matrix Design Group. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — Brian Lippold of Casco Bay Advisors, LLC appeared before the Wilton Board of Selectperson on Tuesday, Feb. 6, to share that Consolidated Communications Inc had taken over the grant from the Maine Connectivity Authority from Matrix Design Group after Matrix failed to bring in a 50% market share for their proposed fiber optic infrastructure project.

“We’ve been at this for a number of year, actually,” Lippold told the selectboard. Town Manager Maria Greeley clarified that talks of bringing high speed broadband internet have been ongoing since 2017.

Lippold shared that MCA and CCI had worked out an agreement to have CCI take over the grant program that had begun with Matrix Design Group in November of 2022, allowing CCI to continue building out their Fidium Fiber network in the town of Wilton.

“With this new agreement, 100% of the residents of Wilton will have access to a new fiber optic network that CCI is deploying,” Lippold stating, adding that no additional cost will come to the town.

Lippold also specified Fenderson Hill would be among those underserved that would have access to CCI and Fidium’s network. Vice-Chair Mike Wells, who filled in for Chairperson Tiffany Maiuri in her absence from the meeting, also added that MCA would be working directly with CCI and no involvement from the selectboard would be needed moving forward.

The grant program that MCA is offering, which aims to help fund projects that would bring high speed internet to rural communities, was initially brought to the selectboard in November of 2022. The selectboard voted to allow former town manager Perry Ellsworth to collaborate with Chris Lynch of Matrix Design Group in drafting a grant proposal.


The grant was approved and the selectboard voted to accept the funding of the project in July of last year. Lippold had appeared at a prior selectboard meeting to advise against accepting the proposal, as the grant included a stipulation that Wilton would need to demonstrated a 50% market share.

“The grant from the MCA requires the town to demonstrate that at least 50% of the potential subscriber locations have signed up for service,” Lippold said at this meeting. Originally, Bee Line Cable was the only internet service provider in that region, leaving the potential for a 50% market share viable. Since then, CCI had begun expanding and Bee Line Cable was purchased by Charter Communication.

Lauren Cassle, account manager from Matrix Design Group, had assured the selectboard that 50% market share was feasible, even with multiple competing providers, at their meeting in July. Ellsworth asked on behalf of the board if the project could still be completed utilizing the funding from MCA if 50% market share was not met.

“If the 50% rate isn’t achieved, then essentially, you have to go back to the board and the grant funds go away,” Matthew Dunn, project manager from Matrix Design Group, had stated at this meeting in July. “Is it feasible to build without the grant funds and the infusion of that capital? My guess is probably not.”

Ellsworth lamented at a meeting in November of 2023, one year after he and Lynch had begun drafting the grant proposal, that “nothing has moved” between them and Matrix as they have failed to come close to achieving a 50% market share.

“We haven’t been able to achieve anywhere close to that,” Ellsworth said, stating 50% market share in the town would amount to 700 households.


Ellsworth told the selectboard that at least two different entities, which he did not disclose to the board, were interested in working with Wilton to provide broadband services to the town utilizing the MCA grant.

In January of this year, the Livermore Falls Advertiser reported that CCI had announced they would be expanding their services to more than 6,800 homes and businesses in Livermore, Wilton, Chesterville, Dixfield, Fayette and Jay regions.

In an construction alert email, Fidium Fiber stated they “appreciate your patience while we upgrade neighborhoods to 100% fiber internet.”

Sarah Davis, Vice President of Market Development for CCI, shared that expansion into Wilton would come from their own capitol. With Lippold’s announcement, CCI will continue expanding utilizing the funds from the MCA grant as well.

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