Broadband for Everyone

Montgomery County’s Mitsuko Herrera discusses delivering broadband to under-served communities

It’s no secret that access to high speed internet can be extremely important for  businesses and education – and it has become a major quality of life issue all across the state. At “Broadband – the Forward Connection For Your Citizens and Businesses,” county technology leaders how they are getting some of Maryland’s tougher-to-reach communities linked up.

Scott Boone, IT Director for Kent County and former chair of the Kent County Broadband Task Force explained how Kent prioritized broadband installation in rural areas, procured delivery experts, used data to strategically map out a robust network using 55 anchor institutions as end points, and delivered service to nearly all parts of the county.

Christopher Merdon, Chief Information Officer for Howard County, discussed how Howard and Carroll counties, Mount Airy, and Freedom Broadband leveraged their resources in a unique public-private partnership to deliver broadband to western Howard’s more rural areas. Public sector facilities, private sector industry knowledge and resident sweat equity all brought the broadband deployment to fruition. Merdon served as a Howard County Councilman from 1998-2006, serving as the Chairman of the Council, Chair of the Board of Licensed Commissioners and Vice-Chair of the Zoning Board. Previously he held high levels in the private sector with JP Morgan, Computer Sciences Corporation and Xerox.

Mitzi Herrera, Montgomery County’s top technology and telecommunications official showed how her county brought broadband to about 2,200 homes in rural areas designated as agricultural reserve by leveraging residents’ community outreach to make the case to existing cable franchisees that there was sufficient demand. She emphasized that broadband deployment is not simply an issue of infrastructure, but also demand – and making the case that high speed internet aids everyone helped propel its deployment.

“Broadband – the Forward Connection For Your Citizens and Businesses” took place on August 18, 2016 at 2 pm at MACo’s Summer Conference at the Ocean City Convention Center. It was moderated by Senator Stephen Hershey, Minority Whip of the Maryland Senate and representative of District 36.