FCC Releases Report on Preventing Digital Discrimination

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC) released a report detailing recommendations and best practices that local governments can follow to prevent "digital discrimination" in broadband deployment and promote digital equity. This report aims to assist local governments and other entities in helping remove barriers to equal opportunity and deliver broadband services equitably to all Americans. MACo adopted "Build out Broadband" among its top legislative initiatives for 2021 and supported multiple…

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The New Broadband Map Is Finally Here

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the first draft of its new National Broadband Map, a comprehensive, location-by-location view of high-speed Internet availability across the nation. The map is a more detailed and precise reflection of the availability of fixed and mobile broadband services in Maryland and across the country. Unlike its previous census block-based maps, this updated map is built on a location-based model developed through the FCC's Broadband Data Collection process. The…

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Charles Launches Grant Program to Extend Broadband to Residents with Long Driveways

The Charles County Commissioners and the Rural Broadband Task Force announced a grant program to help residents cover the costs of installing service drops — the connection from the right-of-way to the customer’s premises to the existing broadband network — for homes/businesses at the end of long, private driveways. The Long Driveway – Category 3 Grant Program will assist in funding connectivity on long driveways where the cost to extend has been the primary barrier…

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Broadband Bootcamp for Counties

Join the National Association of Counties (NACo) Broadband Boot Camp for Counties beginning November 3. This interactive webinar series is geared towards county officials and senior staff who are new to the broadband world and are seeking to get involved on connecting their communities to high-speed internet access. Hear from experts in the field on the What, Why, and How behind broadband deployment, and get all of your questions answered within a forum designed exclusively…

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Garrett Broadband Awarded Grant to Service 300 Homes

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…

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Montgomery County’s Digital Equity Program Gets Big Funding Boost

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich today announced that Montgomery Connects, the County’s digital equity program, has received more than $22.6 million in Federal and State grants to expand access to computers, broadband service and service discounts, and technology training for low-income residents and seniors. Montgomery Connects is using most of the grant funding to provide 50,000 loaner computers to low-income County residents. More than 76 percent of Montgomery Connects computer recipients are Black or Latino.…

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Check Out the New Federal Guide on Digital Equity in Public Education

Communities across the country were shocked by the COVID-19 pandemic's revelation of the digital divide facing America's students. The U.S. Department of Education has released new guidance to help local school districts close the gap. As kids around the nation turned to virtual and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing became clear: some of the country's kids lacked the necessary access to reliable, quality internet to participate in digital schooling. The U.S. Department of…

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State Opens Application Window for $95 Million to Further Expand Broadband Access

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…

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Check Out NACo’s TestIT Tool, Measure Local Broadband Speeds

NACo's TestIT Tool allows county leaders to test local broadband speeds right from their phone. Accurate connectivity data is the foundation for investments in broadband infrastructure. Unfortunately, connectivity data provided to the Federal Communications Commission is often inaccurate and inflated – leaving many rural communities overlooked and disconnected. NACo has partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and Farm Credit to…

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FCC Invites States, Local Governments to Verify Revamped Broadband Maps

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week announced data specifications for state and local governments to file “bulk challenges” to broadband availability data the FCC is collecting under the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) process. Counties have an opportunity to ensure the new maps are as accurate as possible, which will result in historic investments in our nation’s broadband infrastructure and enhance connectivity for all residents. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the FCC’s new data…

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