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Grants & Funding

Office of Statewide Broadband

Through partnerships with local jurisdictions and the private sector, the Office of Statewide Broadband provides funding and technical assistance to help improve broadband access to Maryland communities. Check out their website at Office of Statewide Broadband (

  • Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program - The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program provides federal funding​ to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. The BEAD plan will serve as Maryland’s State Plan establishing its commitments and strategy to support broadband projects over the next five years in alignment with the Office of Statewide Broadband’s objective to close the digital divide in Maryland. For more information on the BEAD Program access the State Plans webpage.
  • 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 - BUC Month Update .


    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.

    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.

    Resources and Information

    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 to test the speed of their internet connection on computers, tablets and smartphones or to report an address that does not have service.

    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.

    Other Resources

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