Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bringing The Broadband

If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

HoCo won a piece of a federal stimulus grant to bring more broadband to the state, after an earlier application was rejected. We're a little late with this news, but we enjoyed Frank Hecker's analysis (essentially, the money is nice but the county's share is probably no more than $10 million plus a required $2 million match).

Here's the county's Sept. 17 release:

Today Howard County, in partnership with the State of Maryland and the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, received a $115.3 million broadband stimulus award (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program) from the Department of Commerce under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This award will be used to directly connect over 1,000 community anchor institutions across the state including 458 K-12 schools, 21 community colleges and institutions of higher learning, 262 public safety agencies, 44 libraries and 221 other government facilities. In addition, it is anticipated that the award will save or create over 1,700 jobs.

“Not only will this investment interconnect 715 community anchor institutions throughout Central Maryland and create jobs, it will also open up countless economic development opportunities including public and private partnerships and reach areas that are currently unserved or underserved by broadband,” said County Executive Ulman. “This grant is going to provide us with the critical infrastructure we will need for the future.”

Of the $115.3 million received by the state, $72 million will be directed to Howard County (a grant sub-recipient) who will be chairing and managing the creation of the first ever Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN), on behalf of 10 government jurisdictions across Central Maryland. ICBN member jurisdictions are: Anne Arundel County, City of Annapolis, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Frederick County, Harford County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. The ICBN will directly connect the community anchor institutions, interconnect government networks, provide enhanced public safety interoperability, allow for limitless educational opportunities, high-speed internet, and data and resource sharing capabilities. It is also estimated that once complete, the ICBN will provide local governments more than $28 million in annual cost savings.

President of Columbia Telecommunications Corporation Joanne Hovis commented on this significant award saying, “this grant would not have been possible without the leadership of County Executive Ulman and the hard work of his staff over the last 18 months. This was a highly competitive grant, and they deserve the credit for making this possible.”

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