The Midcoast Internet Development Corporation, a broadband utility district formed by the towns of Camden and Rockport, and subsequently joined by Rockland and Thomaston, has expanded its membership to include the towns of Cushing, Morrill, Belmont, and Starks.

This publicly owned utility was incorporated in 2021 as a nonprofit corporation under the name Midcoast Internet Development Corporation, also known as MIDC. The MIDC Board of Directors is made up of one member from each of the participating towns. MIDC was formed to bring affordable, high speed fiber internet service to its member towns. A key part of this is that once the fiber internet system is constructed, the utility will retain ownership of the fiber infrastructure, in much the same way that local municipalities own their roads. MIDC will then enter into competitive contracts with internet service providers to operate and maintain the fiber infrastructure for the benefit of the users in its service area.

A publicly owned internet system ensures long term pricing affordability by providing for competition in the operation of the system and eliminating the need to provide profits to corporate shareholders. All profits from the operation of the internet system can be used to expand and improve local internet service, thereby ensuring affordability. The towns that have established and joined MIDC view internet services as an essential infrastructure like roads, electricity, and water — believing it should be available and affordable to everyone.

Now eight towns strong, MIDC has been working with the Maine-based internet service provider, Great Works Internet, to prepare and submit a grant application to the Maine Connectivity Authority. This grant application will be submitted by early November and will request funding to build fiber internet infrastructure in certain of its member towns with focus on the unserved areas in those towns. MIDC expects that it will be one of the few publicly owned broadband utility districts applying for the federally funded grant money.