ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Wes Moore on Wednesday announced that Maryland is awarding nearly $92 million to expand high-speed internet access to an estimated 14,500 households and businesses across the state through Connect Maryland, an initiative to close the digital divide through the Office of Statewide Broadband.
The Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program made 35 awards to Internet Service Providers and local jurisdictions to construct new broadband networks to service unserved households.
Comcast in Baltimore County is set to receive over $7 million in grants.
“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 Governor Moore. “These awards help ensure that the infrastructure exists to make Maryland more equitable.”
Leveraging the state’s funding, these projects invest more than $143 million to connect communities as remote as homes in the mountains of western Washington County to areas in more densely populated jurisdictions in the state, including Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
The Office of Statewide Broadband is housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Through its programs to expand infrastructure and increase digital equity, the office works to ensure that all Maryland households have access to broadband. Since the office was created in 2017, it has invested more than $270 million into broadband infrastructure and programs. Those efforts provide 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.”
In 2022, the Office of Statewide Broadband received federal planning grants for the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment program and the Digital Equity Act program. The funding will be used to develop a framework for identifying unserved and underserved broadband regions throughout the state, and provide resources to increase access to technology and education.
The full list of awardees can be viewed online here.