The state of Maryland is launching Connect Maryland, a program that will infuse $400 million in broadband investment to address the digital divide, Gov. Larry Hogan announced.
“The State of Maryland has set an ambitious goal of ensuring universal broadband to everyone in every single corner of the state by no later than 2025, and Connect Maryland is the game-changing initiative that is going to get us there,” Hogan said. “This is just one more shining example that we aren’t just committed to fully recovering from the pandemic, but we are committed to coming back even stronger and better than ever before.”
Back in March, the state announced $300 million that would go towards broadband investment as part of a bipartisan budget agreement to allocate Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Connect Maryland is providing an additional $100 million to expand broadband access, for a grand total of $400 million in broadband investment.
Hogan also announced the Connect Maryland program will create a bipartisan Maryland Broadband Advisory Workgroup, bringing together stakeholders from across the state and members of the General Assembly to discuss the best ways to use the new broadband infrastructure funding.
Additionally, the Connect Maryland program creates a new Maryland Emergency Broadband Benefit Subsidy Program. To qualify, a household must already be approved for the Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program.
“This program will provide a subsidy up to $15/month against a low-income household’s internet service cost,” the Office of Statewide Broadband’s website says. “This subsidy is in addition to the $50 per month provided by the Federal EBB program; meaning eligible consumers can obtain a total benefit of $65 discount each month.”