WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Garrett County Board of Commissioners has received a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to expand Broadband Internet connectivity in Garrett County.
“In Maryland’s innovative economy, the Internet is indispensible to running businesses, schools and for personal use such as banking or paying bills,” said Senator Cardin. “Broadband access is absolutely essential and this ARC funding will help create jobs by ensuring that institutions in Garrett County have access to the technology that is necessary to operate more efficiently in the 21st Century.”
“In today’s global marketplace, broadband is what connects U.S. communities, schools and businesses to each other and to the world,” Senator Mikulski said. “This grant will close the digital divide in Garrett County to unlock educational and entrepreneurial opportunities in Western Maryland.”
The Garrett County Board of Commissioners will use the funding to deploy 50 miles of fiber to help connect county facilities, schools, community colleges, health facilities and libraries. The ARC grant will help provide the electronics necessary to light the fiber and make it operational. Approximately 2.5 miles of new fiber and electronics will also be deployed to provide connectivity for an additional 14 sites, including schools and town halls.
The ARC grant will work in conjunction with the Broadband Technology and Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant awarded to the State of Maryland. The One Maryland Broadband Network (OMBN) will construct a fiber network across the state to connect 1,000 community anchor institutions. Garrett County’s 50-mile fiber is part of the statewide OMBN.
In addition to ARC funding, Garrett County will provide $250,000, bringing total project funding to $500,000. This grant helps encourage and leverage investments in telecommunications related economic development, which is one of ARC’s priorities for the region. The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.