Counties Lose First Round in Stimulus Cable Aid

According to the Baltimore Sun today, two Maryland county groups lost out on federal stimulus money for installing broadband fiber-optic cable.

The One Maryland Broadband Plan,representing Carroll, Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, plus Baltimore City and Annapolis, did not make the final cut for the first round of funding.

Neither did the second group, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative. That group includes rural Maryland counties and is described on its website as a “member-owned and operated universal access, fiber optic network designed to deliver an advanced, world-class broadband network across the rural communities Eastern, Southern and Western Maryland fostering economic development”.  The Chairman is Worcester County Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

A spokeswoman for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said there were more than 1,800 applications, but just 58 awards in the first round. Another $2.6 billion is up for grabs in the second round.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said “It’s pretty shocking that Maryland was left out.” He said his staff was taken aback since Commerce officials called and e-mailed daily for more information or clarifications.

Coppin State University in Baltimore received $932,000.

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