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County Broadband

To check your address and register your contact information for wired broadband, please click on the Broadband Availability Check button below:

Nicole - "I truly cannot express how much this grant opportunity has meant to my family. Without your support, this project would have cost my family over $12,000. Access to reliable internet for my children and my own teaching career is valuable beyond words. I appreciate all you have done to help this process.", Angela - "Work complete. We were extremely impressed and happy with the professionalism of all contractors involved.", Charlene - "Everything is complete and I now have internet. Thank you so much for all your help.", David - "Thanks so much for helping us with this. It's going to make a big difference.", Tammy - "Thank you!", Dawn - "Yes, work has been completed. Thank you very much.", Donald - "Yes the service has been installed and I am happy with the workers they did a very good job, clean and neat. Thank You for approving my request.", Norman - "Yes, it has been completed and is working perfect.", Rob - "The two gentlemen who came to lay the cable were really good and a pleasure to work with.", Jeff - "Work is done and we have broadband! Thanks so much for your help getting us this important service. We use our network connection for school, work, connecting with family and friends and for fun.", Mike - "The work has been completed. Thank you so much.", Veronica - "The work was completed, and the crew did a nice job.", Steve - "All installation of the cable to my property is complete. Thank you so much!", Dennis - "Thanks for including us in the grant, we look forward to joining the modern world with reliable high-speed internet.", Beverly - "Thank you so much for your assistance in helping us get internet we are so thankful. Again thank you for all you did to help us achieve this!"

If you do not have access to wired broadband, please register your contact information to receive notices of eligibility and automatic email updates for your specific address. Also, if you believe our data is incorrect for your address you can register and report a problem so we can work to resolve the issue.

Middle Mile\Last Mile

St. Mary’s County government has undertaken a strategic approach to improving the county broadband infrastructure by leveraging available grants and marketing the availability of these opportunities to households and employers. St. Mary’s County will continue to work to ensure options for affordable, ultra-high capacity, high-speed broadband; and expanded cable offerings are available to county residents and businesses. - Monthly Status Report.

Last Mile efforts

Working with our existing cable service providers, St. Mary's County has identified addresses that do not have access to wired broadband and is working to improve access as funding opportunities allow. Staff and vendors have recently completed a countywide review of Franchise Agreement compliance by confirming addresses located within 300 feet of the existing cable plant are identified and properly documented as serviceable. A "serviceable address" means wired broadband service can be activated at the address by contacting the cable company and establishing a service account.

On March 29, 2022 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County approved an additional $1,500,000 of FY-2023 American Rescue Plan Funds to expand wired broadband connecitivy to unserved Last Mile addresses as detailed in the Improving Broadband Access in St. Mary’s County Plan of Action. Staff is currently working with vendors to identify construction costs and will schedule constuction to begin after July 1, 2022 to addresses that have requested service by registering contact information in our system.

On July 27, 2021 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County authorized $900,000 of American Rescue Plan Funds. February 15, 2022 update - all of this Last Mile funding has been encumbered.

As eligible participants of the Last Mile Grant are identified, the county will initiate the Last Mile Grant Process.

Middle Mile Cable Plant Expansion

See what areas have had infrastructure installed, areas we are working to install infrastructure, and future areas we are planning to expand on our Middle Mile Map. Also, you can sign up to receive automatic email updates for your location as projects progress by accessing the "Broadband Availability Check" button above.

On December 14, 2021 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County authorized staff to submit applications for the Office of Statewide Broadband Neighborhood Connect Grant to expand cable service in the county. If awarded, the grant would provide funding for several identified Middle Mile project areas in St. Mary's County. St. Mary's County Proposed Funding Service Areas (PFSA) can be viewed on the Office of Statewide Broadband website - responses\challenges must be submitted by May 10, 2022. These grant funded projects must be completed by December 31, 2023.

On July 27, 2021 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County authorized American Rescue Plan Funds to connect more Middle Mile unserved areas with wired Broadband connectivity. Construction is complete in several areas as reflected in the Middle Mile Map.

On January 12, 2021 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County authorized staff to submit to the Governors Office of Rural Broadband, St. Mary's County's FY21 Expansion of Existing Broadband Networks Application Package. The grant funding was awarded on July 13, 2021 - Construction is complete and reflected in the Middle Mile Map.

Connect Maryland - Office of Statewide Broadband

Through partnerships with local jurisdictions and the private sector, Connect Maryland provides funding and technical assistance to help entities qualify for federal financing opportunities. Connect Maryland website

Affordable Connectivity Program

January 21, 2022 - The FCC released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that establishes rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

On December 31 the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This longer-term program was created by Congress in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, and replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. This investment in broadband affordability will help ensure households can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care and more.

To support your ACP outreach efforts, the FCC also launched a toolkit of materials for partners to download and customize to meet their needs. More materials will be added in the coming weeks, so continue to check the page for new additions.

The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Enrollment in the ACP is now open for households with at least one member qualifying under any of the following criteria:

• Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;

• Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;

• Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;

• Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;

• Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or

• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.

As we transition to this new program, the over 9 million households fully enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as of December 31, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. More information about steps current Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients must take to continue receiving the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit after March 1, 2022 will be available in the coming weeks.

Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

The temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program has become the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new longer-term program, effective December 31, 2021. (See Above)

On March 1, 2022, most legacy Emergency Broadband Benefit households should be automatically transitioned to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Households that need to take action to remain enrolled in the ACP will have been contacted by USAC, the program administrator, or their provider.

Internet Service Providers (ISP's)

The FCC has concluded that cable modem service is properly classified as an interstate information service and is therefore subject to FCC jurisdiction. The FCC determined that cable modem service is not a "cable service" as defined by the Communications Act. The FCC also said that cable modem service does not contain a separate "telecommunications service" offering and therefore is not subject to common carrier regulation.”

Federal Law 47 U.S.C. 253 Section (a) - "In General. No State or local statute or regulation, or other State or local legal requirement, may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service."

Although ISP's are not regulated by St. Mary's County Government, we have been actively working with and encouraging commercial Internet Service Providers to expand their service offerings into our community. St. Mary's County Government will continue this work - fostering competition as vendors evaluate how their business model can support expansion into our county.

NTIA Digital Map

On June 17, 2021 the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released (Press Release) a new publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. This is the first interactive, public map that allows users to explore different datasets about where people do not have quality Internet access.

Speed Survey

NEW CARROLLTON, MD - Governor Hogan has announced significant progress being made by the Governor's Office of Rural Broadband (recently renamed to the Office of Statewide Broadband) to expand high-speed broadband access for students and to improve data collection of Marylanders' internet speeds, which will be used to direct future funding and projects. As part of today's announcement, the state of Maryland has launched the "SpeedSurvey" website. Residents can visit https://maryland.speedsurvey.org to test the speed of their internet connection on computers, tablets and smartphones or to report an address that does not have service. See the entire News Release.

Broadband for Unserved Students Grant (BUS)

Last Mile - On August 12, 2020 the St. Marys County Public Schools accepted from the Governor’s Office for Rural Broadband and the Department of Housing and Community Development the Broadband for Unserved Students (BUS Grant) for $1,584,000 for the construction costs of Cable Expansions for Rural locations - beyond 300 feet, but less than 2,200 feet to existing cable plant as funding allows. This funding opportunity was provided under the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the CARES Act. The original grant period for this ended on December 30, 2020 however; a grant extension was received on January 28, 2021 from the Governor’s Office for Rural Broadband which allowed construction through March 31, 2021. All grant funding has been allocated and approved construction is complete however, some unserved student addresses may benefit from other Middle Mile and Last Mile work being performed - BUS Grant Monthly Status Report.

Wireless - On August 12, 2020 the St. Mary's County Public Schools accepted from the Governor’s Office for Rural Broadband and the Department of Housing and Community Development the Broadband for Unserved Students (BUS Grant) in the amount of $101,820 for Wifi Hotspots to serve 580 potential student locations to meet the immediate need for connectivity as soon as possible. This funding opportunity was provided under the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the CARES Act and combined with an existing ESSER Grant will fund the connectivity to identified addresses for the entire 2021-2022 school year.

Broadband Assessment (Completed December 30, 2020)

On September 15, 2021 the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County authorized Dellicker Strategies to complete a Broadband Assessment to evaluate options for improving the regional broadband infrastructure within the county. This report compiles publicly available information, government resources and background materials to establish a baseline of information about the regional broadband infrastructure. Additionally, it adds results from the St. Mary’s County Household Broadband Survey, which received almost 2,600 responses, and the Employer Broadband Survey, which included 99 local employers. Combined, these sources provide a broad and current perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the regional infrastructure and a roadmap for ways to leverage this information to make improvements. This analysis was presented to the Commissioner's of St. Marys County on January 12, 2021, is written for a non-technical audience and the recommendations are designed to be practical and achievable. The Executive Summary and The Broadband Assessment Report

The Federal Communications Commission's Auction 904: Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide. Talkie Communications has been awarded the RDOF areas for St. Mary’s County (map). The areas that are in color are the areas where funding was won in the area. The RDOF funding is about 30% of the actual construction cost for build-out.

Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. Visit the FCC's Lifeline website for more details.

Additional Information

February 16, 2022 Updated Approved Plan of Action
December 16, 2021 Updated Approved Plan of Action
July 29, 2021 Approved Plan of Action
April 13, 2021 Commissioners of St. Mary's County Meeting Broadband Update Video
January 12, 2021 - 2020 Broadband Progress Report
January 12, 2021 Commissioners of St. Mary's County Meeting Broadband Update Video
January 7, 2021 Approved Plan of Action
2020 Approved Cell Tower Antenna Permits Map
August 18, 2020 Broadband for Unserved Students (BUS) Grant Presentation
August 18, 2020 Commissioners of St. Mary's County Meeting Agenda
August 18, 2020 Commissioners of St. Mary's County Meeting Video
July 27, 2020 Approved Plan of Action - Original
County Cable Franchise(s)