New funding for internet access in rural Maryland

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Internet service has proven to be very important now more than ever especially during the covid-19 pandemic. Maryland is now the recipient of millions of dollars in funding to try provide broadband service to more Maryland residents.

The federal government just announced that Maryland is a recipient of more than $13 million dollars from the ReConnect pilot program through the CARES act. Both of these programs are United States Department of Agriculture.

This new funding aims to provide broadband or internet service to previously unserved and underserved rural areas of Maryland.

The multi-million dollar grant will be used to bring network connections to nearly 9000 people, 144 farms, 183 businesses, 8 educational facilities, and a nursing home.

Chad Rupe, administrator for Rural Utilities Service stated, “By delivering on broadband to these areas, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you’ll be able to thrive no matter the location or zip code because you have access to the world that is brought by broadband.”

Rupe also went on to describe how this new funding enables more people to have access to business and marketplaces, provides internet to school children and those continuing their education, and even allows for elderly Maryland residents to stay in a location where they are more comfortable instead of moving to a more metropolitan area due to lack of broadband connection.

He also explained that this expansion of broadband was implemented from the Rural Electrification Act which was enacted in 1936 and provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. Rupe stated that by using the framework of this act, it can applied to specific states.

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