Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that applications are now open for $95 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access across the state. The funding will be part of the Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program. The Connect Maryland initiative is designed to expand the state’s investment in broadband and help close the digital divide.
“The State of Maryland is well on track to ensure every Marylander has access to broadband through the transformative Connect Maryland initiative,” said Governor Hogan. “As a result of our efforts to date, broadband is now available to well over 95 percent of Marylanders, this next round of funding will allow critical infrastructure to be built that simply would not be possible without this initiative.”
According to the governor’s office, the Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program provides between $800,000 and $4.5 million to local jurisdictions or their Internet Service Provider (ISP) partners to construct new broadband networks to service unserved households. Hogan’s office noted that the program does require matching funds from local jurisdictions and/or the ISP partners.
“Under Connect Maryland, the state has been able to bring broadband access to a significant number of residents, as well as assist with digital equity initiatives,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.
As with previous rounds of funding, this round of Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program funding will be administered by the Office of Statewide Broadband, which was codified in 2021 to “ensure that all Maryland households that want broadband have access to it.”
Last year, Maryland state leaders announced $400 million in funding to ensure universal broadband access for Maryland. The announcement included $300 million in Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
To date, the Office of Statewide Broadband, previously known as the Office of Rural Broadband, has invested roughly $200 million into broadband infrastructure and access projects and programs. The governor’s office said that these efforts have provided high-speed internet access to an estimated 30,000 unserved households statewide.