In an effort to expand infrastructure and provide wireless devices and equipment to K-12 students in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan has announced broadband grants for local jurisdictions, internet service providers (ISPs), and community organizations to the tune of more than $127.6 million.
Maryland’s Office of Statewide Broadband awarded these grants to help bring broadband services to an estimated 15,000 households through the state’s Connect Maryland initiative.
“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,” Gov. Hogan said. “As a result of these efforts, broadband is now available to well over 95 percent of Marylanders.”
The Connect Maryland Network is just one of four grant programs that these awards were made available through. The others include the Neighborhood Connect Broadband Grant Program, the Connected Communities Program, and the Maryland Emergency Education Relief Grant.
The Maryland Emergency Education Relief Grant totaled over $8 million in awards for K-12 students and staff to gain access to the internet or devices needed to connect to classrooms.
“Our goal is to ensure universal broadband to everyone in every single corner of the state,” he added. “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.”
As for the dollar amounts of the other grants, the Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program totaled over $99 million in awards, the Neighborhood Connect Broadband Grant Program totaled over $14 million, and the Connected Communities Program totaled almost $5 million.
Ultimately, these grants will help jurisdictions, ISPs, local community-based organizations, nonprofits, and anchor institutions in Maryland to close the digital divide.