Home Internet Contracts for high-speed internet in Carroll County to be voted on Thursday – Baltimore Sun

Contracts for high-speed internet in Carroll County to be voted on Thursday – Baltimore Sun

High-speed internet could be coming to parts of Carroll County that have poor connections or none at all.

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners are scheduled to vote Thursday on separate contracts totaling $4.6 million with Comcast and Verizon that, if approved, would clear the way for more access.

The contract with Comcast Cable Communications is $4 million, according to a county briefing paper. The contract with Verizon Maryland is for $451,481.

Both would provide broadband internet networks to those who are “unserved and underserved.”

The funding comes from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, which is part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

The county received $32,718,855 from the COVID-19 stimulus package in two allocations. About half of the funds were received in May 2021 and the remainder arrived in May 2022. The money is intended to speed up the country’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the pandemic.

The county government allocated $17.8 million to IT projects. Of that, $11.9 million was slated for broadband connections for unserved or underserved residences in the county.

Internet providers report that 90% of Carroll County has some form of internet access, according to the county website.

“However, the county realizes there are a lot of pockets of unserved or underserved areas in the county including areas where accessing service is not practical or is unreasonably expensive,” the website states.

The county estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 residences are unserved or underserved, meaning internet service is unreliable, slow or unreasonably expensive.

Meanwhile, Carroll County is not an internet service provider, but the county does partner with private ISPs to use the county’s fiber network to expand networks.

The county began construction of more than 110 miles of fiber optic lines in 2007. More than 130 local and state agencies were able to connect to the network, including county offices, Board of Education buildings and schools, Carroll Community College, the Carroll County Public Library system, emergency response facilities, courthouses and town offices.

Expansion continued in 2011, when the county received $6 million in federal funds, along with a county match of $2 million, to build the fiber backbone — the nerve center of a very high-speed network. This provided broadband access to 11 additional areas in the county.

The commissioners meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Thursday, in Room 311 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., in Westminster. It will be live streamed at https://www.youtube.com/@CarrollCountyGov. Anyone can make public comments at the meeting, in person or online. Those wishing to attend online should call 872-240-3212 and enter access code 317-923-893 to join the meeting.



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