MACo to State: Help Close the Digital Divide, Dig Once is Common Sense

On March 4, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the House Economic Matters Committee to support HB 1328 -  Economic Development - Broadband Providers - Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021). This bill is a MACo initiative, helping to close the digital divide in Maryland by enhancing incentives and creating opportunities to build out broadband across the State. From the MACo Testimony: This bill would help to close Maryland’s persistent…

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Harford Announces Partnership for Rural Broadband

Harford County yesterday announced a partnership with ThinkBig Networks, a private sector internet service provider, to bring broadband service to the County’s rural northern region over the next several years. The project timeline will depend on infrastructure construction and grant funding, which both parties are aggressively pursuing. This public/private partnership aims to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service to the most unserved and underserved areas of the County. Approximately 2,500 homes in northern Harford County…

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Frederick Launches Interactive Budget Survey to Gather Community Input

A new online tool allows the public to choose which budget requests they would include in Frederick County’s budget for the next fiscal year. County Executive Jan Gardner today unveiled the tool, called Balancing Act, as a way to promote open, transparent government. “Balancing Act is an exciting tool that leverages new technology so residents can help to shape the budget,” said County Executive Gardner. “How we spend our tax dollars should reflect our community’s…

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Counties Support Local Cybersecurity Training, Oppose State Mandated Training

On March 2, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony in opposition to SB 873 - Department of Information Technology - State and Local Government Employees and Contractors - Cybersecurity Training. This bill would place a detailed mandate on county governments to carry out new state policy and implement State-mandated cybersecurity training programs. From the MACo Testimony: County governments are established and complex employers and entities – and are not truly in need of the…

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Attorney General Frosh Joins Multistate Coalition in Urging the FCC to Boost Internet Access Amid Pandemic
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
Attorney General Frosh Joins Multistate Coalition in Urging the FCC to Boost Internet Access Amid Pandemic

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has joined 30 attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fund internet connectivity and internet-enabled devices to K-12 students attending school remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Every K-12 student in this country should be able to access online learning resources,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Expanding access to the E-Rate program will help those students continue their education in the midst of this unprecedented…

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Conduit Street Podcast Presents: The Divide – How US Counties Are Confronting Connectivity Needs

The Conduit Street Podcast is proud to present The Divide – a new podcast from Light Reading that explores the digital divide: why it still exists, where it still exists, and what needs to be done to fix it. The latest episode features the co-chairs of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Broadband Task Force, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and Judge JD Clark of Wise County, Texas for a discussion on what the…

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Mayor Scott to Hire Baltimore’s First Digital Equity Director

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott today announced that he will hire Baltimore City’s first Director of Broadband and Digital Equity. This position will serve as Baltimore City’s primary representative for coordination with internal and external stakeholders focused on digital equity and broadband connectivity issues while working to expand public access for Baltimore residents. More than 60,000 Baltimore City households do not have internet access. Mayor Scott said the City will adopt a comprehensive approach to…

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Counties Support Focus on Broadband, Urge Recognition for Rural Community Needs

MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin yesterday testified before the House Economic Matters Committee to support both HB 43 Department of Information Technology – Office of Broadband and Joint Committee on Broadband and HB 97 Department of Housing and Community Development – Office of Digital Inclusion – Established (Digital Connectivity Act of 2021). These bills further MACo's initiative of advancing broadband access in Maryland. HB 43 would establish the Office of Broadband in the Department of…

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MACo to State: Boost Cybersecurity Support for Counties

MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin today submitted testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee in support of HB 38 - State Government - Department of Information Technology - Cybersecurity. This bill would require Secretary of the Department of Information Technology, in consultation with the Attorney General, to develop and promote guidance on consistent cybersecurity strategies for counties, municipal corporations, school systems, and all other governmental entities. From the MACo Testimony: In recent years,…

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