ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Friday announced that, through the state’s Connect Maryland initiative, the Office of Statewide Broadband has awarded more than $127.6 million to local jurisdictions, Internet Service Providers, educational, and community organizations to increase high-speed internet access and affordability. The funding will help provide broadband service to an estimated 15,000 households that are currently unserved or underserved while specific education grants will both expand infrastructure and provide wireless devices and equipment to Maryland’s K-12 students.
The governor made the announcement while kicking off a series of events in Harford County to highlight administration initiatives and accomplishments.
“Last summer, we supercharged our broadband investment with the launch of Connect Maryland, for a total new investment of $400 million for the expansion of broadband access, and to fully address the digital divide for everyone all across our state,” said Governor Hogan. “As a result of these efforts, broadband is now available to well over 95% of Marylanders, and a new national survey ranked Maryland as the most improved state in America for business and they cited our progress on infrastructure and broadband access as a part of that success. Our goal is to ensure universal broadband to everyone in every single corner of the state. Connect Maryland is the game-changing initiative that is going to help us get there, and it is one more way that we are changing Maryland for the better.”
The awards were made through four grant programs, and the full list of awardees is available here:
- The Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program provides between $1 million and $10 million to local jurisdictions or their Internet Service Provider partners to construct new broadband networks to service unserved households. The program requires matching funds.
- The Neighborhood Connect Broadband Grant Program provides between $50,000 and $500,000 to local jurisdictions and their Internet Service Provider partners to extend existing broadband service to unserved areas. The program requires matching funds depending on the project being funded, and the local jurisdiction or the Internet Service Provider may own the assets being funded.
- The Connected Communities Program assists local community based organizations, nonprofits, and anchor institutions in creating Gap Networks and Community Network designed to address the affordability challenge many low to moderate income household’s face in subscribing for internet service. The program provides grants of between $25,000 and $250,000 for the construction, deployment, expansion, or continuation of these networks.
- The Maryland Emergency Education Relief Grant provides grants between $50,000 and $350,000 to K-12 students and related school staff to close the gap for students who lack necessary internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms. Eligible applicants are Schools, Libraries, and Anchor Institutions.
Also taking part in today’s event was Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who said, “I am proud of our public-private partnerships to expand broadband in northern Harford County.”
Created by executive order in 2017, the Office of Rural Broadband, housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, was established to expand broadband capabilities statewide in underserved, rural areas of Maryland. Recognizing that there are different needs beyond rural areas and that different solutions may be needed, it was re-codified as the Office of Statewide Broadband in 2021, to ensure that all Maryland households that want broadband have access to it. To date, the Office has invested approximately $195.7 million dollars into broadband infrastructure and access projects and programs, and those efforts have provided high-speed internet access to an estimated 30,000 unserved households statewide. Additional information regarding the Office of Statewide Broadband can be found online at https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Broadband/.
Video from Friday’s announcement can be viewed below.