In a bid to improve internet access for underserved households, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a contract of up to $30 million for the Office of Statewide Broadband to provide laptops for an estimated 150,000 underserved households in the state. The contract is part of the state’s larger Connect Maryland initiative.
“This transformative initiative will provide more Marylanders with the technology they need to have reliable, high-speed internet,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said. “Through the Office of Statewide Broadband and our Connect Maryland initiative, we have been able to increase access to broadband for tens of thousands of households through infrastructure improvements and digital equity initiatives.”
During its Oct. 26 meeting, the Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on a contract with HP that will run from Oct. 27 of this year to Oct. 26, 2023. In a press release, the governor’s office noted that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) – which houses the Office of Statewide Broadband – will work with local governments and community partners to distribute the devices.
“Maryland has implemented innovative programs to supercharge its investment to address the lack of universal access to digital services and technology,” DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt said. “By working with local jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout the state, we will be able to deliver these devices to those who need it most in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
The Connect Maryland initiative, launched last year, will invest a total of $400 million within the state to ensure universal broadband access.
Localities will be able to apply for laptop beginning in early November. No additional details about eligibility or program requirements have been made public.