Governor Wes Moore this week launched the Maryland ActNow campaign, a public awareness campaign to help increase awareness of and enrollment for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program — a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit providing eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month.
The governor was joined by US Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves, state and local officials, and other partners to promote the campaign, part of an effort that will also deploy $268 million in federal funding to support Maryland’s broadband infrastructure.
Only 27 percent of the nearly 800,000 eligible Maryland households are enrolled in the ACP. MACo is one of 20 Maryland-based trusted partners working with the administration and national non-profit EducationSuperHighway to get more ACP-eligible families signed up before the start of the new school year.
“Access to the internet is no longer optional – it is essential, and nobody should be locked out of the internet because of their income or where they live,” said Governor Moore. “When it comes to getting folks online, our administration is very clear: we will not rest until every single Marylander has access to affordable and reliable internet. The discounts offered under this program and the investments we are making have the power to expand opportunities for Marylanders across the state. Leaving no one behind means getting everyone online.”
The federal funding is Maryland’s share of the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration funding is determined by a formula based on the number of households and businesses lacking broadband access.
The BEAD program’s principal focus is deploying broadband service to end users in unserved locations (those without any broadband service at all or with broadband service offering speeds below 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream/3 Mbps upstream) and underserved locations (those without broadband service offering speeds of 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream).
The Maryland Department of Housing and Development’s Office of Statewide Broadband is developing a plan for funding deployment, informed by public webinars and outreach conferences this past spring.
Broadband is the utility that will determine economic outcomes in much the same way water and sewer systems have for the past 150 years,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “With the NTIA’s quarter billion dollar investment in our state, our goal of closing the digital divide and resolving inequities for countless Marylanders is closer than ever.”
Since the Maryland Department of Housing and Development’s Office of Statewide Broadband was founded in 2017, it has worked with county governments and private-sector partners to invest more than $300 million into broadband infrastructure and equity programs. That investment has provided high-speed internet access to an estimated 52,000 previously unserved homes and businesses statewide.
Members of the Maryland ActNow Coalition members include MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), Comcast, Verizon, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, AARP Maryland, the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition, CASH Campaign, the Baltimore Jewish Council, Catholic Charities, the Maryland Farm Bureau, ARC Maryland Central Chesapeake Region, the Maryland State Education Association, Economic Action Maryland; and the Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband.
At the MACo Summer Conference session, “Broadening Broadband – A Collaborative Approach,” an expert panel will break down new state and federal funding opportunities, best practices for overcoming hurdles to deployment, and opportunities for collaboration to coordination to expand access to unserved residents across the state.
The 2023 MACo Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2023, at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.
Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:
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- Exhibitor Details & Pricing
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- Sponsorship Opportunities
- Tech Expo Details
- Golf Tournament Details
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- 2022 Conference Photos
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- Questions? Contact Virginia White