As reported by the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, Washington County, working with a networking firm, recently completed a broadband impact study to determine the best way to maximize the use of fiber infrastructure in the county.
County officials said the main goals of the study were to help determine how to best maximize 18.5 miles of recently installed One Maryland Broadband Network (OMBN) fiber infrastructure and optionally leverage fiber assets publicly owned by partners on the Washington County Public Network (WCPN) in and around Hagerstown.
The study identifies underserved and unserved areas of Washington County, defined as those with download speed availability of less than 4 megabits per second, and addresses how to increase broadband usage rates.
According to county officials, the scope of work included developing strategies and sustainable business plans that encourage cost-effective design and construction of broadband infrastructure, along with an operations and maintenance approach to maximize service to county businesses, organizations, schools and residents.
Now that the study is complete, county officials will begin working with those involved with developing report to determine next steps.
County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said officials have been exploring the county’s broadband assets — public and private — for several years, and this report creates a resource that consolidates all of the available information into one document.
Murray said the players involved in helping to develop the report — the private sector, along with the City of Hagerstown, Washington County, public schools and library systems — will need to sit down and discuss the study’s recommendations and determine if further government involvement is needed.
“In much of Washington County, we’re fortunate because we have a lot of providers that already have high-capacity cable,” he said, adding that the county would not want to inhibit the ability of private companies to recoup investments they’ve already made. “Our intent is not to circumvent any private investment.”