State of Maryland Seeking Public Comment on Draft Plans to Achieve Digital Equity and Connect All Marylanders to High-Speed Internet Access
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Wes Moore today announced that the Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband has developed drafts of the state’s plans to connect all Marylanders to high-speed internet access and achieve digital equity. Marylanders are encouraged to submit feedback on the drafts during the public comment period, which ends December 2.
“High-speed internet access is an essential tool for Marylanders to succeed, providing the opportunities to participate in your community, apply for jobs and receive important information,” said Gov. Moore. “We will ensure every single Marylander has access to affordable and reliable internet, as well as the resources to be able to connect, and the state’s five-year plans are a roadmap to get us there.”
The documents outline broadband infrastructure deployment and digital equity initiatives to achieve the Moore-Miller Administration’s vision of providing equitable access to the internet for all Marylanders. The input collected during the public comment period will be reviewed before the documents are finalized and submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The Office of Statewide Broadband, housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, developed the plans as a framework to determine future federal funding for broadband infrastructure and access initiatives as part of President Joseph R. Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Office of Statewide Broadband hosted public webinars and outreach conferences this past spring to inform the plans.
Guided by the Broadband Equity, Access and Distribution plan, the Office of Statewide Broadband developed an initial proposal, which outlines the deployment of $267 million in funding. The five-year Digital Equity plan outlines how the state will equip citizens with the knowledge and resources to navigate the digital landscape, access online resources, and protect their privacy and security. The plan will also inform the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s allocation to the state for implementation of digital equity initiatives.
“Broadband is critical to producing equitable economic outcomes for Maryland families,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “Through these plans, the state will be able to close much of the digital divide and resolve inequities through the strategic deployment of funding from National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s investment in Maryland’s broadband programs.”
Since the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Office of Statewide Broadband was founded in 2017, it has invested 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.
To review the plans and provide comments, visit https://dhcd.maryland.