A $28 million federal grant will help extend high-speed internet service to dozens of unserved communities in rural Maine.

The award, made through a 2020 coronavirus relief act, will connect homes to affordable service through public-private partnerships. The ConnectMaine Authority will work with the towns of Somerville, Washington and Isle au Haut to develop internet expansion projects.

Private companies Consolidated Communications, Axiom Technologies and LCI Fiber Optic Network will bring cable internet to parts of Franklin, Hancock, Knox and Lincoln counties through the grant.

“This federal funding will help us make progress on that ambitious goal by ensuring that more than 11,000 unserved Maine homes have access to high-speed internet, providing them with the connection they need to work, study, start a business, see a doctor, and stay in touch with friends and family,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a news release.

Gov. Mills pledged to connect reliable internet to everyone in the state who wants it by 2024 in her latest State of the State address.

In September, Sen. Angus King’s office announced that the U.S. Treasury Department was allocating more than $128 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for Maine’s effort to expand broadband internet service.

The funding announced Friday will be in addition to the previously announced allocation, King’s office said.

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