Governor Moore Announces $69 Million in Federal Funds to Support High-Speed, Affordable Internet Access for Unserved Marylanders
ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 16, 2023) — Governor Wes Moore today announced $69 million in federal funding for two new programs to help more Marylanders access high-speed, affordable internet. Administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Office of Statewide Broadband, the two programs, Home Stretch for Public Housing and Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties, are expected to provide internet access to an estimated 15,000 unserved Maryland households.
“Getting all Marylanders online is crucial in a society where internet access can determine your job or your child’s education,” said Gov. Moore. “We are grateful for the support of the U.S. Treasury in our efforts to close the digital divide and create a more equitable Maryland.”
Funded through the U.S. Treasury’s American Rescue Plan Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, both programs are the newest additions to the Office of Statewide Broadband’s Connect Maryland initiative, which provides financial assistance to local jurisdictions to advance the state’s digital access efforts. Since the office was created in 2017, it has invested more than $300 million into broadband infrastructure and programs. Those efforts provide high-speed internet access to an estimated 52,000 previously unserved homes and businesses statewide.
“These two new programs will help us ensure that in Maryland, the location of your home will not be a barrier to internet access,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “With the help of local partners across the state, more Marylanders will have access to affordable, high-speed broadband–a utility that is as important to economic outcomes as water and sewer systems have been for the past 150 years.”
The Home Stretch for Public Housing program has received $45 million, which will help address affordability, access and service issues of broadband internet in Maryland’s public housing. The program will provide funding directly to local jurisdictions that own public housing units to install broadband facilities, wireless access points and additional eligible broadband elements.
Each project program must also include educational and technical assistance outreach to support adoption. The Office of Statewide Broadband estimates that the funding will provide wiring for approximately 10,400 multi-dwelling units across the state. For more information on the Home Stretch for Public Housing program, visit dhcd.maryland.gov.
The Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties program has received more than $24 million in funding, which will fund last-mile broadband projects that are focused on bringing high-speed internet access to remote properties that have difficulty obtaining service due to distance from broadband infrastructure or other geographic issues that may discourage an internet service provider from delivering broadband service.
Grants will be made to counties, which will subgrant funds to internet service providers to install service connection and provide service. The Office of Statewide Broadband estimates the funding will provide broadband service to 4,600 unserved properties across the state. For more information on the Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties program, visit dhcd.maryland.gov.
Funding from the U.S. Treasury follows Gov. Moore’s June announcement of $267 million in funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to close the digital divide.
For more information about the Office of Statewide Broadband, visit dhcd.maryland.gov/broadband.