Garrett County’s Broadband Customer Connect Program was awarded $435K by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The $435,000 grant will support the Board of County Commissioners of Garrett County’s installation of 7,500 feet of broadband and expand fiber broadband services to 300 homes. Expanded service will benefit rural residents who have struggled to pay the thousands of dollars required to extend broadband services down long driveways to their homes. The county commissioners will work with qualifying internet service providers to identify the homes in need and ensure appropriate cost reductions are applied when connecting the new services. By directly supporting the expansion of broadband availability in unserved areas, Garrett County is building the infrastructure needed to keep their community moving forward.
“When attracting new families to our county, we’re finding that broadband availability is very high on their list of requirements. Helping our Internet service providers expand their service areas will allow our current residents and businesses to thrive, while attracting new talent to the region” said Paul Edwards, Chair of the Garrett County Commissioners (ARC press release).
The awarded grant is part of the largest POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) funding package from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) since the initiative launched in 2015. This year’s ARC conference was hosted this October at Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland, Maryland, where Governor Hogan was in attendance.
“By investing in communities, and particularly in workers, affected by job losses in the coal industry, the POWER Initiative is a great catalyst for economic development, and an important tool to help revitalize our rural communities,” said Governor Hogan. “With this year’s recipients, the initiative has now made nearly 450 total investments, touching more than 85 percent of all of the counties in Appalachia” (press release).