Maryland Broadband Initiative

The Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband received $268M to provide broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state. The money came from the Broadband, Equity, Accessibility, and Deployment Grant Program (BEAD). Every state, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC received at least $100M. Nineteen states received more than $1B. The program is intended to “pave the way for all Americans to have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service by 2030.” The FCC has identified 8.5 million locations that are considered unserved. Dollars are administered by each state and are focused largely on the installation of fiber to rural locations, although some areas of Baltimore City will also be included. Funds can be used for fiber installation, monthly service fee subsidies based on income, and in some cases Chromebooks or other end-user devices. In many cases, the fiber is being installed by small to mid-sized companies. There is also a focus on workforce development. This program is made possible by funds provided by the CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan 2021, and other federal grant programs. In several states, the program is being co-managed by the states’ Research and Education Networks. More information on the Maryland program can be found here.