Coming up are two additional moves at the federal level with big promise for Maine. First is that the $8 billion annually raised by the Universal Service Fee (a surcharge on landline and cellphone bills alike) could be released to fund Internet expansion. At present, the fee is limited to supporting telephone service in rural areas, but bureaucrats are beginning to figure out that it's Internet access that is truly necessary everywhere in the country. A Federal Communications Commission decision on that could come later this year.

Also, the FCC is expected to release some additional radio spectrum for auction soon, with the goal that funds raised from the auction and most of the new bandwidth itself will go to reach 98 percent of Americans with Internet access at speeds five times faster than Maine's present minimum broadband speed.

For more info, check out broadbandmap.gov.

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