Tilson Provides Grant Development and Administration Services for the ConnectMaine Authority

OVERVIEW

The ConnectMaine Authority is a public instrumentality of Maine state government whose mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband to all Maine households and businesses. The state has set a goal of expanding the availability of broadband to connect 95% of potential subscriber locations by 2025.

Challenge

ConnectMaine Authority does not currently have the resources, capacity, or process/structure to administer grants at the rate at which they are growing. ConnectMaine was seeking development of a program that is scalable, repeatable, and structured to promote informed decision-making to award investment-worthy projects. Feedback from ConnectMaine staff indicated that application reviews and recommendations for award are lengthy processes that require substantial time and efforts from both the Staff and Board. Additionally, the Authority does not currently have a field audit process that verifies grantees obligation to their project scope.

Solution

Tilson diligently collaborated with ConnectMaine staff to incorporate program goals while staying within the boundaries of the ConnectMaine Authority statute. Tilson structured a new application review workflow and performed pre-review preparations by creating an application scoring matrix, a cloud-based file-organization system, and defined communications protocols and documentation process for applicant information. To supplement the scoring matrix, Tilson produced a live form that automatically calculates scores from user inputs and data-driven calculations embedded in multitudes of related tables. Tilson's in house broadband experts performed a technical and financial feasibility review on all applications and provided write-ups to vet projects. Tilson is also creating a structured audit process for awarded projects to verify compliance with GDA terms and project scope, outlining audit documentation requirements, holding an orientation workshop with awarded grantees, and producing numerous reports following the 5 phases of audit (Proposed Funded Service Area Audit, Technical Audit, Spending Analysis, Field Verification, and Customer Connection Validation). Tilson consultants will perform follow-up field visits to completed projects and provide technical assessments of the infrastructure. Tilson with collaborate with ConnectMaine Staff to perform remediation tasks to ensure all grantees are meeting their contractual obligation.

How Tilson Can Help

Tilson partners with public and private sector community leadership to plan, design, construct, and maintain viable and cost-effective broadband networks that are essential to communities' safety, economy, health, and quality of life.

Learn more about our services or contact us to discuss your specific network deployment needs.