Governor Martin O'Malley today joined Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and state and local officials to observe new broadband capabilities at Kent Island High School and celebrate the completion of the One Maryland Broadband Network.
"If we are to continue to grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities in Maryland, we must make the better choices that will allow us to upgrade both our physical infrastructure--our roads, bridges and public transit--as well as our cyber infrastructure," Governor O'Malley said. "Broadband is the backbone of a 21st century innovation economy like Maryland's, and I am pleased that we have partners at the federal level, like Senator Mikulski, and at the local level, like County Executive Ulman, to help strengthen that backbone."
"I'm so proud that the final mile of the digital highway is complete and that Maryland is wired up and ready to go. From the waters of the Eastern Shore to the Bedrock Counties of Western Maryland, our high-tech digital highway is complete" said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Broadband is about jobs, making our state more competitive in the global marketplace for the next generation and beyond. We've always been one Maryland, but with the One Maryland Broadband Network, we are one digital Maryland, taking ideas, opportunity, jobs for the future to every single county in Maryland. Together with Team Maryland, I have fought to tear down the digital divide so that no one will be sidelined or redlined. We truly are one Maryland, and ready to roll."
The completed One Maryland Broadband Network connects over 1,066 community anchor institutions by building out 1,321 miles of fiber. Anchor institutions include schools, police facilities, libraries, colleges and universities and other community support centers. The One Maryland Broadband Network was completed at a total cost of $158.4 million, including a $115.2 million federal grant and $43.2 million in matching state and local funding.
"Abundant broadband is not a "nice to have' in the 21st century. It is a "must have,'" County Executive Ulmansaid. "The progress we can make in education, health care, innovation and efficiency is limited only by our imaginations. Our federal and state partners showed great vision in moving this project forward."
The initiative is the only broadband initiative in the country to connect institutions not just in specific regions, but in every single county in the State. The network connects:
497 K-12 schools
250 public safety facilities
16 community colleges, and 9 other higher education institutions
7 medical facilities
41 community support locations
190 government service locations
Maryland communities can now access affordable, abundant and very high speed broadband in every part of the State. Due to the new broadband access, for example, students at Kent Island High School are now able to watch videos online, take part in interactive web-based programs, and use online resources in the classroom and throughout the school. Just last year, the network was not strong enough to support these activities.
The One Maryland Broadband Network has been regarded as a model partnership between federal, state and local communities. This infrastructure is paving the way for the future of high-speed internet service in our State while expanding economic opportunities, increasing our ability to provide public safety and health services, and strengthening our small business communities.