Connect Maryland: Board of Public Works Approves $30 Million for Laptops to Improve Internet Access For Underserved Households
State Will Purchase Devices For Distribution Through Local Governments, Community Partners
ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 26, 2022) – Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a contract of up to $30 million for the Office of Statewide Broadband to provide laptops to underserved households in order to help address the digital divide. The contract will provide internet capable devices for an estimated 150,000 Maryland households.
“This transformative initiative will provide more Marylanders with the technology they need to have reliable, high-speed internet,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “Through the Office of Statewide Broadband and our Connect Maryland initiative, we have been able to increase access to broadband for tens of thousands of households through infrastructure improvements and digital equity initiatives.”
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), where the Office of Statewide Broadband is housed, will partner with local governments and their community partners to distribute the devices in accordance with specific criteria. Jurisdictions will be able to apply in early November at https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Broadband/.
“Maryland has implemented innovative programs to supercharge its investment to address the lack of universal access to digital services and technology,” DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt said. “By working with local jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout the state, we will be able to deliver these devices to those who need it most in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
Connect Maryland. Last year, the governor announced the Connect Maryland initiative to ensure universal broadband statewide, with a total new investment of $400 million.
Office of Statewide Broadband. Created by an executive order in 2017, the Office of Rural Broadband was established to expand broadband capabilities statewide in underserved, rural areas of Maryland. Recognizing that there are different needs beyond rural areas and that different solutions may be needed, it was re-codified as the Office of Statewide Broadband in 2021. To date, the Office has invested approximately $200 million dollars into broadband infrastructure and access projects and programs, and those efforts have provided high-speed internet access to an estimated 30,000 unserved households statewide.
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