Project Grant


Grant Description
Purpose: The Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) and its partners propose to design, build, and operate the MOOSE (Maine Online Optical Statewide Enabling) Network, a new, east-west middle mile fiber optic route that will anchor the state's strategic goal of providing universal broadband access. MOOSE NET will provide a publicly owned backbone, enabling expansion and diversification of internet services otherwise deemed not economically viable by existing market conditions.

Activities: The project will construct a 531-mile dark fiber backbone that extends open access middle mile fiber to 131 communities in Maine and consists of seven routes: East-West Calais to Sandy Bay Township, East-West Montreal, Kingfield-Farmington, Farmington-Waterville, Norridgewock Ring Closure, Waterville to Damariscotta, and Sherman-Houlton Ring Closure. Nine carrier-neutral colocations will be constructed to meet the needs of telecom carriers and internet service providers to utilize the proposed network. Two points of presence will connect at two University of Maine campuses, providing path diversity for redundancy and high availability of the fiber.

Activities to be performed: The project will construct a 531-mile dark fiber backbone within 2 years that extends open access middle mile fiber to 131 communities in Maine and consists of seven routes.

Expected outcomes: Today, nearly all of Maine's internet traffic reaches the global internet by going south to Boston or NYC, along a limited set of routes with common potential points of failure and limited competition. The project will extend a new contiguous, high bandwidth, open access, middle mile fiber route, offering both dark and lit services to these communities, unlocking future public and private last mile broadband investment, and creating an economically viable and sustainable asset that enhances network competition, reliability, and resilience for Northern New England. The route intends to serve Maine's most rural, unserved, and economically disadvantaged counties: Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Franklin, and Somerset. With the middle mile fiber that MOOSE NET will bring, internet service providers will be able to meet the growing demand for broadband that is essential to the long-term viability of these rural communities. As a public entity, the Maine Connectivity Authority will be able to offer lower costs required by ISPs to connect, significantly reducing transport costs and making last mile access more affordable for ISPs (and ultimately their customers). Once complete, the project will enhance the overall reliability and resilience of Maine and Northern New England by providing a new, east-west route across the state. It will also enhance the security of all of the state's interconnected last and middle mile networks, benefit and serve national security interests, and provide new direct internet connections to Canada.

Intended beneficiaries: MOOSE NET will extend the state's middle mile infrastructure to underserved, unserved, rural, and impoverished communities to facilitate public and private investment in high-speed last mile broadband. This new, low-latency, geographically diverse path through rural Maine is likely to be attractive to hyperscalers, ISPs in Atlantic Canada, and firms with data-intensive transport needs, especially those who have traffic coming overseas to North America. The route will increase middle mile competition in the area, with concurrent pricing benefits for wholesale and ultimately retail customers. Along the proposed routes in Somerset County, 56% of addresses are unserved; in Franklin, 50% are. Within 5 miles of MOOSE NET, 37% of addresses are underserved, lacking access to 100/20Mbps. MOOSE NET will also benefit Maine's tribal communities. The routes pass directly through Penobscot Indian Tribal Land and bring middle mile fiber much closer to several other reservations.

Subrecipient activities: None.
Place of Performance
Augusta, Maine 04330-6830 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Related Opportunity
Maine Connectivity Authority was awarded Project Grant 2340MM174 worth $30,016,472 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in July 2023. The grant has a duration of 2 years and was awarded through assistance program 11.033 Middle Mile (Broadband) Grant Program. $23,336,660 (44.0%) of this Project Grant was funded by non-federal sources.


Last Modified 6/21/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
12.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
56.0% Federal Funding
44.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
State Government
Awarding Office
Funding Office
Performance District
Susan Collins
Angus King
Jared Golden
Modified: 6/21/23