BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC (“Arctaris”) announces plans to build new fiber broadband networks in economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones, throughout Maine. The network will span across South Portland, Belfast, Millinocket, East Millinocket, and Medway and will pass approximately 12,000 residential and business premises, providing these underserved urban, suburban, and rural communities with access to affordable, inclusive, and high-speed broadband.
Arctaris will construct and own the networks, and will partner with Great Works Internet (“GWI”) to deliver internet services to end users. GWI is the premier provider of fiber optic internet service in Maine and the state’s first Internet Service Provider to be certified as a B Corp. for meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance. The program is also made possible through a partnership with the Finance Authority of Maine (“FAME”), which is providing 20% leveraged loan insurance and other assistance to Arctaris due to the positive impact these networks will have on the communities involved.
“Ensuring that Maine people and businesses have access to high-speed, affordable broadband is vital for our state’s economic recovery and future prosperity, which is why my Administration has prioritized improving connectivity across Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Public private partnerships like these help drive forward these efforts, and I applaud GWI, Arctaris, and FAME for working together to expand access to low-cost, high-speed broadband, particularly in the Katahdin region.”
“We are pleased that Arctaris, in partnership with GWI, answered our call for building and delivering fiber broadband to 100% of our three communities,” said Kyle Leathers, Board of Directors President of Katahdin Broadband. “We look forward to partnering with them to deliver affordable, high-speed internet to support economic growth, increase educational resources, and expand opportunity in the Katahdin Region.”
The gap in resources and opportunities available between residents with access to broadband and those without has been widening for years. However, the pandemic brought these inequities into even greater focus, highlighting the need for online schooling, remote work, and telehealth medical services. The demand is so great that many states plan to use their American Rescue Plan Act funds on broadband infrastructure projects including improvements to connectivity, device, and digital literacy for residents.
“Today, more than ever, equitable access to affordable, high-speed internet is crucial to the economic viability of cities and states throughout our country,” said Neil Katz, Principal at Arctaris. “By building fiber-based broadband networks, we are developing the infrastructure necessary to lessen the digital divide in economically distressed areas, which we expect these communities to benefit from for decades to come.”
Arctaris is addressing similar challenges in Colorado, in partnership with The Colorado Health Foundation, where it has committed $50M to expand broadband access to 25,000 households and businesses, enhancing access to telehealth services for residents, and building digital equity throughout the state.
“As we work together to implement a broadband solution, we must be careful to not create a one-size fits all approach,” said Jonathan Tower, Founder and Managing Partner of Arctaris. “Both urban and rural communities are adversely affected by an inability to access affordable, high-speed broadband. Arctaris and our partners are committed to working with foundations, state and local government officials to find the right solution that meets their unique broadband needs, and we plan to replicate our model in additional locations nationwide.”
Through a national digital impact platform and key public private partnerships, Arctaris is committed to driving equitable broadband access for economically distressed communities throughout the country, particularly those located in Opportunity Zones.
About Arctaris Impact Investors
Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC is a Boston-based impact investment firm with experience spanning more than 12 years and six funds, with both debt and Opportunity Zone equity investments. The firm manages funds which invest in growth-oriented operating businesses and community infrastructure projects located in underserved communities. Founded in 2009, Arctaris has partnered with the Kresge Foundation, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and multiple other foundation, federal and state government agencies to invest in Opportunity Zones, inner cities and targeted rural communities throughout the U.S., with the aim of delivering above-market investment returns alongside positive social impact.
About Katahdin Broadband
Katahdin Broadband was formed in 2018 as a utility district comprising the towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket, and Medway. The utility board consists of two representatives from each town, along with an administrator representing the local non-profit Our Katahdin. Katahdin Broadband works closely with Casco Bay Advisors and Dan Pittman (Eaton Peabody) to achieve goals of equity, reliability, and affordability in broadband service across the entirety of all three communities.
Certain information contained in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements. These statements reflect prevailing conditions and our best business judgment as of the date of issuance. As a result, actual results may vary from the projections and it should not be relied upon as investment advice.