ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced today new funding that will expand access to broadband internet in rural Western Howard County. This investment is in coordination with the State of Maryland and Verizon and builds on the efforts in the Transform Howard initiative. Photos from the event can be found here.
We are thrilled to partner with the state and Verizon to bring high-speed internet to our residents in Western Howard County. This investment will provide critical connectivity in a rural area that has long struggled with limited internet access and help make us a national model for digital equity for rural communities. We are proud to leverage our fiber infrastructure and state funding to make this project a reality.
The $1.7 million total funding is a partnership between Howard County, Verizon and the State of Maryland. More than 350 homes will gain access to broadband services as a result of the funding.
In 2021, County Executive Calvin Ball launched Transform Howard, a transformational blueprint for digital equity and inclusion in Howard County. The rural nature of Western Howard County has presented challenges for internet service for years. The new funding, along with the County’s previous investments in their fiber network, will allow expanded high-speed internet access across the state.
County Executive Calvin Ball has been committed to expanding broadband access across the county. He has worked with the Howard County Public School System to increase its broadband capacity in school buildings to support learning. He has also expanded free Wi-Fi to 22 locations around the region, including public libraries, public parks and fire stations.
“After trying to get more reliable internet options to the rural west for many years, I am grateful for this partnership and the tangible impact it will make,” said Councilman David Yungmann, District 5.
“The $1.7 million will service more than 350 households right here in Howard County, including, Woodbine, Glenelg, Lisbon, Sykesville,” said Senator Katie Fry Hester, District 9. “It’s a true partnership where the state grant and the contribution from the county are leveraging investment from our private sector partner, Verizon.”
“The agricultural community uses broadband access as an essential tool for modern agricultural production. Not only does it allow farmers to do simple tasks like follow commodities markets and communicate with customers, it has also become a necessary component in the data collection and analysis tools farmers are using both in their livestock operations as well as maximizing their crop yields. Broadband access is the next step to help reduce their environmental impact and help Howard County farms remain sustainable for many years to come,” said Leslie Bauer, Howard County Farm Bureau.
“I’m glad to be here today to highlight the over $700,000 award offered to Verizon for this project in Howard County. With Verizon’s nearly $1 million contribution, this $1.7 million project will help connect over 300 households with high-speed internet, helping solve a decades-old problem in western Howard County,” Kenrick Gordon, Office of Statewide Broadband.
The project is set to begin later this year.