ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan announced $10 million in grant awards on Thursday to support expanded broadband access for education in Maryland.
The Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband has awarded nearly $8 million in grant assistance to increase internet access for Maryland public school students.
Around $2 million will “support feasibility and design studies for a new statewide wireless network solely dedicated for educational use,” the governor’s office said in a release.
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This all comes as more Maryland students are or will be in need of Internet access for remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant funding is set to be provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and administered by the Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband.
“Our administration is committed to expanding broadband to every corner of our state, and as many local school systems prepare for remote or hybrid learning models in the fall, this access is more important than ever,” said Governor Hogan. “These grants will support partnerships between the state, local governments, and internet service providers to ensure distance learning options are available and accessible for all Maryland students.”
21 out of Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions applied for and received additional resources.
The grants will be used in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas, students who are underserved will be able to gain access to the Internet from an existing provider, while in the rural areas grants will be used to provide wireless access to students with cellular hotspots.
The funding will also support feasibility studies and design for a statewide fixed wireless network.
This network is expected to be operational by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.