Friday, September 19, 2008

EDA Helps Bring Broadband to Rural Maryland

In this day of instant communications, global markets and technology-based economies, broadband access is a critical link to business success. Yet, according to a 2006 report issued by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 70% of rural land areas in the United States are still un-served by DSL or high-speed cable internet providers; and that’s simply not good enough. With the full support of the State of Maryland and hard work from its federal delegation, led by Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative is working with the Economic Development Administration and other federal agencies, as well as Maryland military installations and private sector partners to build a fiber-optic network that will affordably connect Maryland businesses and residents to a high-speed broadband pipeline.

The Maryland Broadband Cooperative, Inc. is a public/private partnership, formed by the five Maryland Regional and Tri-County Councils. The Cooperative works with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, as well as other State agencies including the newly created Maryland Department of Information Technology, the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Rural Maryland Council to promote economic development through the construction of an universal, open access fiber-optic network serving rural Maryland. The Maryland Broadband Cooperative membership includes businesses, regional councils, county governments and state agencies.

The Philadelphia Regional Office of the Economic Development Administration has invested over $3.2 million dollars into Maryland’s Broadband Fiber optic network infrastructure.

Last October, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative celebrated the completion of installation of fiber-optic cable across each span of the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge, joining for the first time by fiber optic communication services the Eastern and Western Shores of Maryland. This fiber is currently providing public safety benefits to citizens and visitors while enabling private companies to expand the opportunity of Marylanders and its businesses to obtain broadband access at affordable rates.

In the next few months, the fiber backbone will be completed from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Anne Arundel County, Maryland on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. In Southern Maryland, the Cooperative is joining forces with the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Patuxent River Naval Air Station and other companies to expand their existing network. Farther north, in Cecil County, the Cooperative has teamed up with W.L. Gore and Associates to bring broadband access to many of the communities gearing up to attract new businesses and homeowners that are coming to the area as a result of federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

In This Issue

1 EDA aids in Maryland’s Broadband
2 Ben Franklin Technology Partners
3 In the Field: Upstate New York
4 Private Sector Pulse: Empire Aero
5 Regionalism in Connecticut

Dr. Anne Cavalier, EDR for Maryland and West Virginia meets with key leadership from the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore

1 comment:

Tom Christoffel said...

Google’s Blog alert sent me to this post because of the term “regionalism.” This article should be useful to the subscribers of Regional Community Development News, so I will include a link to it in the September 24 issue. It can be found at Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom