WASHINGTON — On Monday, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) announced $3,913,553 to help provide schools and libraries on the Eastern Shore and in Baltimore with the tools and services they need to enhance internet connectivity.
Awards in this wave of funding include: $3,799,575.44 for the Enoch Pratt Free Library System; $74,860.38 for the Caroline County Public Schools; $27,748.15 for the Talbot County Public Schools; and $11,370.00 for the Talbot County Free Library.
These funds were provided by the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, which the lawmakers worked to establish in the American Rescue Plan, to close the digital divide. Maryland has received over $85 million since the Fund’s creation last year. This funding has supported over 70 schools and libraries across Maryland and expanded broadband internet access for thousands of students, school staff, and library patrons.
“Reliable internet access is vital to ensuring students get a twenty-first century education and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, too many Maryland students still lack internet access at home and are caught in the digital divide. That’s why we fought to secure this funding in the American Rescue Plan to help provide additional support directly to our schools and libraries so that more students have the devices and internet connections they need to get online. We will continue to help every student — no matter their zip code — access secure and affordable internet,” the lawmakers said in a written statement.