AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's governor told a legislative committee on Tuesday that the creation of a new connectivity authority would help bring affordable broadband to all corners of the state.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills told the Maine Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology that the bipartisan proposal would bring high-speed internet to parts of the state that desperately need it. She unveiled the proposal on Monday.

Mills said high-speed internet is “the modern equivalent of rural electrification in the 1930s and the interstate highway system in the 1950s.” She said lack of high-speed internet has prevented children from participating in remote classrooms, businesses from opening and families from being able to connect with each other during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mills said the new Maine Connectivity Authority would be empowered to own broadband infrastructure, including poles and wires, and it would provide grants and loans to the private sector and communities to facilitate growth of high-speed internet.