State and Counties to Benefit From Federal Broadband Stimulus

As reported by the Baltimore Sun and Daily Record, Maryland will receive $115 million in federal stimulus money to build a high-speed internet system across the State.

The grant, the second largest of its kind in the country to date behind one received by West Virginia, will help Maryland connect the patchwork of fiber-optic networks that currently run through each of its 24 jurisdictions.

The broadband funding will result in vastly improved Internet speeds for local government offices, schools, hospitals, and emergency communication networks across Maryland, officials said. More than 1,200 miles of new fiber-optic cable will be installed across Maryland — a 50 percent increase over the existing network capability, officials said.

There is a 20 percent State and county match to receive grant funds. In total, approximately $160 million will be put toward this effort.

Much of the money — about $72 million dedicated to the 10 jurisdictions in Central Maryland — will be administered by Howard County. It was Howard’s information systems director, Ira Levy, who spent 18 months leading the effort to get the money.

The State, which is contributing $14 million to the project, will handle the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland build-outs. The counties will pony up a combined $18 million as well as in-kind services.

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