Andrew Butcher, director of the Maine Broadband Coalition, will be nominated to head a new state agency tasked with rapidly accelerating Maine’s effort to make broadband internet service available to all residents of the state.

Andrew Butcher Courtesy photo

Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday that she will nominate Butcher to serve as president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. If confirmed, he would run the newly created authority, which is charged with achieving universal access to high-speed internet service in Maine.

The coalition that Butcher currently directs represents businesses, communities and other internet users in advocating for secure, affordable and equitable access to broadband connections, according to a news release issued by the governor’s office Tuesday.

He also is the director of innovation and resilience for the Greater Portland Council of Governments and was one of the leaders in the successful effort to pass a 2020 bond proposal raising $15 million to expand broadband access in Maine.

Butcher has a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University. He is also the recipient of the Echoing Green Global Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship and served as a Coro Fellow in St. Louis.

“Andrew’s expertise in broadband and his wealth of experience in cross-community infrastructure and financial management position him well to take on this important new role,” Mills said in a statement. “Expanding access to affordable broadband is central to strengthening our economy and to providing educational, telehealth, business and workforce opportunities to people in every corner of our state.”

The authority is governed by a seven-member board that was nominated by Mills and confirmed by the state Senate. It will have access to $150 million to help expand access to affordable broadband in Maine, with $21 million from a state fund and $129 million from federal coronavirus pandemic relief funds.

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