Internet Service Providers, Local Governments, Can Apply for Grants to Connect Unserved and Underserved Areas
The Office of Statewide Broadband is now accepting applications for $95 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access across the state through Connect Maryland, an initiative to supercharge the state’s investment in broadband and address the digital divide.
The Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program provides between $1 million and $10 million to local governments or their Internet Service Provider partners to construct new broadband networks to service unserved households. An unserved location is defined as one that cannot receive broadband service at 100Mpbs download by 20Mbps upload speeds. The program requires matching funds.
Last year, Governor Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones announced $400 million to ensure universal broadband access for Maryland, which includes a $300 million investment as part of a bipartisan budget agreement to allocate federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Created by executive order in 2017, the Office of Rural Broadband, housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, was established to expand broadband capabilities statewide in underserved, rural Maryland. However, recognizing that there are different needs beyond rural areas and that other solutions may be needed, it was re-codified as the Office of Statewide Broadband in 2021, to ensure that all Maryland households that want broadband have access.
The Office has invested approximately $200 million into broadband infrastructure and access projects and programs. Those efforts have provided high-speed internet access to an estimated 30,000 unserved households statewide.
For more information about the Office of Statewide Broadband or to apply for a grant, visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Broadband/.