Governor Larry Hogan today announced $10 million in grant awards to support expanded broadband access for education. The Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband has awarded nearly $8 million in grant assistance to increase internet access for Maryland public school students. Approximately $2 million will support feasibility and design studies for a new statewide wireless network solely dedicated for educational use.
The grant funding will be provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and administered by the Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband.
“Our administration is committed to expanding broadband to every corner of our state, and as many local school systems prepare for remote or hybrid learning models in the fall, this access is more important than ever,” said Governor Hogan. “These grants will support partnerships between the state, local governments, and internet service providers to ensure distance learning options are available and accessible for all Maryland students.”
21 out Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions applied for and received additional resources. In urban areas where students have access to broadband infrastructure, the grants will be used to help currently unserved students obtain internet service from an existing provider. In rural areas where broadband infrastructure does not exist, the grants will be used to provide wireless access to students with cellular hotspots or similar resources. View the full list of grantees.
Funding will also support feasibility studies and design for a statewide fixed wireless network to further expand access for unserved students in rural areas. The Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband will work with local partners to incorporate existing vertical assets, such as communications towers and water towers, as part of the network infrastructure. This network is expected to be operational by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.