Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced earlier this month that the state will use $92 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access to an estimated 14,500 households and businesses.
The investment is part of Connect Maryland, an initiative to close the digital divide and run through the Office of Statewide Broadband. According to Gov. Moore’s office, the Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program made 35 awards to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and local jurisdictions to construct new broadband networks to service unserved households.
“Internet access is essential for Marylanders to have a pathway to receive critical information, be involved with their communities and participate in the local economy,” said Gov. Moore. “These awards help ensure that the infrastructure exists to make Maryland more equitable.”
Through a combination of the state’s $92 million in funding and funds from ISPs and local jurisdictions, more than $143 million will be invested to connected remote communities in the mountains of western Washington County and more densely populated parts of the state, including Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
The Office of Statewide Broadband, tasked with administering the funding, is housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Created in 2017, the office focuses on programs to expand infrastructure and increase digital equity. Since its creation, the office has invested more than $270 million into broadband infrastructure and programs.
According to the governor’s office, that funding has expanded high-speed internet access to an estimated 52,000 previously unserved homes and businesses statewide.
“Broadband is the utility that will determine economic outcomes in much the same way water and sewer systems have been for the past 150 years,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “Full participation in the digital economy is essential for resolving inequities for countless Marylanders and the Office of Statewide Broadband is committed to closing the digital divide.”