ConnectMaine partners with VETRO, Tilson, and CQA to Secure $28 Million Grant from NTIA

Will Be Able to Fund Fiber Builds to More Than 11,000 Locations

Portland, Maine, March 2022 – 

As part of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program, ConnectMaine applied for and was awarded a grant of $28 million to help spread broadband services to the many rural communities in Maine that have suffered from a lack of internet access. This was a highly competitive process that closed in Sept 2021, with grant awards just announced recently. NTIA reported roughly $2.5 billion in applications from 49 states – a near 10X oversubscription of the $280 million in available funds for state applications. 

ConnectMaine is a public instrumentality of Maine state government. The ConnectMaine Authority’s statewide project, “Connect the Ready, Mountains to the Sea” is a last-mile broadband deployment initiative in 7 distinct areas of  rural Maine that is designed to bring quality broadband to 11,746 unserved households across the state. It represents the strong partnerships Maine has built with communities, smart consulting support, and providers to get this important work done.  

Tilson, CostQuest Associates and VETRO worked under the direction of ConnectMaine to deliver a data-driven, map based analysis in support of the winning grant application. Tilson is ConnectMaine’s technical consulting advisor for broadband programs and grant making, while CostQuest has long provided service availability and cost modeling for broadband agencies and private ISPs. VETRO is a leading provider of software solutions for fiber network mapping and broadband infrastructure. 

The project reflects a true partnership, one that delivered success through combining best in class broadband data, consulting expertise, and mapping software under the leadership of a collaborative broadband office.

VETRO’s contribution to the success of the ConnectMaine NTIA grant award was driven by cross team collaboration, GIS analysis, and data visualization. VETRO worked extensively with ConnectMaine to gather NTIA requirements and develop custom GIS analysis, delivering grant-winning mapping. Tyler Slack, VETRO’s Director of Services and Delivery, explains, “Data was customized to reflect priorities set forth by the NTIA while highlighting the differentiation of broadband availability, population density, and geographic proximity. The VETRO Platform was the conduit for communication, review, and teamwork.”

Brian Mefford, VETRO’s Vice President of Broadband Strategy, worked closely with ConnectMaine on this project, and attests to the value of the VETRO platform in the grant process. “NTIA judged the Maine application as one of the best – requiring less pressure testing because the projects and the data were so tight. And sure enough the state got exactly what was requested. Basically everything was imagined, created, mapped, evaluated and defended through the VETRO Broadband Intelligence Platform™ .”

Increasing access and usage of broadband infrastructure in rural areas in Maine has huge economic implications. Bridging the digital divide leads to an increase in jobs and population growth, higher property values, higher rates of new business formation and lower unemployment rates. 

In a recent article in Government Technology Magazine, Peggy Schaffer, Executive Director of ConnectMaine referred to this collaboration and the VETRO platform as “mapping on steroids.” And for other states considering their options for program management, she added, “We’re all going to be going through the same steps, so instead of each state trying to figure out this on our own, let’s figure it out on a national scale and then have states pick and choose from this menu of things that they can use to beef up their program.”

Schaffer adds, “Maine could not have done it without the team we built –the communities, willing providers and the smart consulting and mapping from Tilson and VETRO.  That partnership is key to the success of Maine’s proposal.”



VETRO is a SaaS software company delivering unparalleled internet infrastructure intelligence™ through a unique mapping platform built to plan, design, build and operate the networks that enable a connected and sustainable world. At VETRO, we are passionate about enabling better connectivity for all, and delivering disruptive digital transformation for all Communications Service Providers.


About Tilson

Tilson is on a mission to build America’s information infrastructure. Recognized eleven consecutive years on the Inc. 5000, Tilson provides network deployment and information system professional services to telecom, construction, utility and government clients. As a leading network design, build, and operating firm, Tilson builds high-performing technology project teams who take on the largest and most impactful information infrastructure projects in the country. To learn more about Tilson, please visit or follow the Company on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About CostQuest Associates

CostQuest Associates (CQA) has long led the communications industry in knowledge of costs, network modeling, telecommunications economics, and regulation. CQA applied its communications knowledge, and its data science chops to developing the most accurate data to support business and policy decisions related to broadband deployment. CQA has offices in Cincinnati, Ohio and Seattle, Washington. To learn more about CostQuest’s products and services visit us at or check us out on LinkedIn or Twitter

Press and Business Inquiries for CQA can be sent to

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