ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan this week announced that applications are now open for $95 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access across the state through Connect Maryland, an initiative to supercharge the state’s investment in broadband and address the digital divide. Through the program, an historic $400 million in funding has been dedicated to address broadband access in unserved and underserved communities.
“The State of Maryland is well on track to ensure every Marylander has access to broadband through the transformative Connect Maryland initiative,” said Governor Hogan. “As a result of our efforts to date, broadband is now available to well over 95% of Marylanders, this next round of funding will allow critical infrastructure to be built that simply would not be possible without this initiative.”
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.
Last year, Governor Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones announced $400 million to ensure universal broadband access for Maryland, which includes a $300 million investment as part of a bipartisan budget agreement to allocate federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Under Connect Maryland, the state has been able to bring broadband access to a significant number of residents, as well as assist with digital equity initiatives,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The concentrated effort of the Hogan administration to fund broadband infrastructure has helped connect tens of thousands of households.”
Applications for the grant funding opened earlier this week. Created by an 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 $200 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. For more information about the Office of Statewide Broadband or to apply for a grant, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Broadband/.