WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced $95 million in federal funding for broadband infrastructure projects that will provide high-quality internet to areas that lack access to adequate service. This funding comes from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF), which was established by the American Rescue Plan that the Democratic lawmakers fought to pass in March 2021. The U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the State of Maryland’s plan to invest this funding in Maryland’s Network Infrastructure Grant Program, which is designed to provide resources directly to internet service providers (ISPs) for large-scale broadband projects in areas that lack adequate and affordable service, with the goal of closing the racial and socioeconomic digital divides across the state. This funding will help connect an estimated 16,667 homes and businesses to broadband internet.
“Internet access is an essential link to our world – connecting many Marylanders to work, school, family and friends, and so much more. That’s why closing the digital divide and connecting communities across our state to broadband has been and continues to be one of our top priorities,” the lawmakers said. “We fought to pass the American Rescue plan to deliver on this priority for Marylanders, and now this $95 million will help bring tens of thousands of people and small businesses online. We will continue working to expand access to broadband and open new doors to opportunity for our state.”
“These broadband investments through the American Rescue Plan will help lay the foundation to ensure that every American household and small business has access to affordable, high-speed internet,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Treasury applauds Maryland’s efforts to use this funding to close the digital divide and ensure that all communities have access to affordable, high-speed internet.”
The Network Infrastructure Grant Program will support ISPs’ efforts to provide internet service with download and upload speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps), which are necessary for multiple users in a household to be online simultaneously. Each of the ISPs funded by the program will participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – a $30 per month subsidized service for low-income families. Maryland requires participating ISPs to match the CPF grant funds at a rate determined by the density of the service area.
The CPF was established in the American Rescue Plan to address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic – especially in rural areas and low- and moderate-income communities – and help ensure equitable access to the high-quality modern infrastructure needed to access critical services. In total, the American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion for payments to eligible governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency.
The American Rescue Plan included historic investments in Maryland for broadband infrastructure, education and child care, health care, small businesses, public transit, the tourism industry, and more – bringing significant resources directly to Maryland to help workers, families, and local officials combat COVID-19 and recover from the health and economic impacts of the virus.
Along with Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act’s historic funding for broadband deployment, this investment will connect countless more Americans to high-speed, affordable internet and promote digital inclusion.