The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County today announced the Request for Proposal (RFP) for community broadband is open for interested broadband providers.
Reliable internet access in St. Mary’s County has been a top priority of the Commissioners, and on September 15, the Commissioners allocated $100,000 toward formally assessing local broadband capabilities. To date, more than 2,400 households and 90-employers have responded to the broadband assessment surveys.
According to a St. Mary’s County press release:
For the second phase of St. Mary’s Broadband Assessment Project, the Commissioners are authorizing the release of a communitywide Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit broadband providers to submit proposals to improve broadband options, availability and pricing.
It’s not too late for residents to complete The St. Mary’s County Broadband Assessment Project surveys for Households, posted here: https://www.stmarysmd.com/it/broadband/BroadbandAssessment.aspx
The household survey deadline is Nov. 24, 2020.
MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at the September 16, 2020 meeting to adopt building out broadband in Maryland as a priority for the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Session. The issues considered for MACo Initiatives cover a broad range of important county concerns that MACo will proactively advocate for in front of the General Assembly.
BUILD OUT BROADBAND: BROADBAND ACCESSIBILITY ACT OF 2021
Weaknesses in current broadband internet service occur in every jurisdiction, due to both geography and demography – too many Marylanders have been left on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of broadband connectivity across the state. Students have transitioned to online learning, many professionals have shifted to telework, and applying for unemployment or small business assistance programs often requires access to the internet. Affordable high-speed internet is an essential component of a county’s economic development, while lack of reliable broadband is a major barrier to socioeconomic opportunity, health, education, and quality of life.
MACo advocates for prioritizing funding to build out broadband access in Maryland, enhancing incentives and orchestrating opportunities for broadband deployment, and leveraging existing resources and infrastructure for broader use.