TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Thursday joined Comcast to announce a new $7.4 million grant from the Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband’s Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program, which will support the expansion of high-speed broadband service to 450 additional homes in rural areas in northern Baltimore County.
In combination with prior grant-funded expansion efforts and ongoing strong cooperation between the County and Comcast to provide broadband and cable access to other unserved homes — Baltimore County will be able to bring high-speed internet access to about 99 percent of all area homes which originally lacked service.
“We are fully committed to bridging the digital divide in Baltimore County, and this generous investment in connectivity infrastructure further expands access to high-speed internet to nearly every home in Northern Baltimore County,” said County Executive Olszewski. “This partnership with the state and Comcast is essential in ensuring residents have access to critical technology and the digital economy by providing universal broadband.”
Shortly after taking office, the Olszewski administration determined that over 2,500 homes in northern Baltimore County did not have access to reliable wired broadband internet service. Since then the administration, in partnership with Comcast, has made expanding rural broadband infrastructure a major priority.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone for Baltimore County and we are excited to connect more residents to the game-changing power of broadband,” said Michael Parker, Senior Vice President for Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We have a shared mission with the county and state of Maryland to bridge the digital divide – and this partnership is a critical step in getting there.”
In 2021, Baltimore County and Comcast announced a first phase of expansion, which will support nearly 900 homes and is expected to be completed this summer.
In 2022, Baltimore County and Comcast announced a second phase, which will support nearly 1,000 additional homes and is expected to be completed in 2024.
With this new $7.4 million grant through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Office of Statewide Broadband, Baltimore County and Comcast will provide broadband expansion to nearly 450 additional homes. This project is expected to be completed in 2025.
“Broadband is the utility that will determine economic outcomes in much the same way water and sewer systems have 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 total, Baltimore County, the State of Maryland, and Comcast have dedicated over $23 million since 2019 through the Connect Maryland initiative to help close the rural digital divide in northern Baltimore County.
“Expanding broadband access in rural Baltimore County continues to be one of my top priorities, and I am thankful for the County’s commitment to bringing that vital connection to our communities, in partnership with our state partners and Comcast,” said Councilman Wade Kach. “I look forward to continuing to work with County Executive Olszewski to close the digital divide and ensure that rural Baltimore County has broadband access.”
Baltimore County will plan to identify additional funds in the coming years to provide access to remaining homes.