ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan announced the launch of Connect Maryland on Friday.

Connect Maryland is a transformative initiative to supercharge the state’s broadband investment. A total of $400 million has been invested to address the digital divide.

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“The State of Maryland has set an ambitious goal of ensuring universal broadband to everyone in every single corner of the state by no later than 2025, and Connect Maryland is the game-changing initiative that is going to get us there,” said Governor Hogan. “This is just one more shining example that we aren’t just committed to fully recovering from the pandemic, but we are committed to coming back even stronger and better than ever before.”

Connect Maryland includes:

  • $400 Million In Broadband Funding.
  • The investment of an additional $100 million to expand broadband access across the state. (In addition to the $300 million investment that was announced in March as part of a bipartisan budget agreement to allocate federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act)

Also, to make broadband more affordable and accessible for low-income households, the governor also announced the launch of a new Maryland Emergency Broadband Benefit Subsidy Program.

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To receive assistance, a household must already be approved for service under the Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

The federal program provides a discount on internet service of up to $50 per month — when combined with state assistance, households can receive a discount of $65 per month for up to 12 months.

An eligible household must include a member that meets one of the following criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
  • Aproved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year.
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating Internet Service Provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
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CBS Baltimore Staff