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County Broadband FAQs

What is broadband?

The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines "high-speed" as a minimum of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for download and 3 Mbps for upload.

What is an ISP?

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the industry term for a company that can access to the Internet for homes and businesses, typically from a computer.

Why aren’t there other options for broadband services in the county?

Currently, there are multiple companies who offer broadband access operating in St. Mary’s County depending on your location. St. Mary’s County is open for business, and welcomes all opportunities that would expand Broadband services in our community.

What has St. Mary’s County Government done to improve broadband access for residents and businesses?

Check out our Broadband Data Dashboard to see the progress the county has made in bringing Broadband to Unserved Addresses within the County.

Have any other companies offered to provide broadband services to St. Mary’s County?

View the county map which details where our "wired broadband" Internet Service Providers are operating and\or are planning to expand service offerings in St. Mary's County. County government is working hard to encourage commercial Internet Service Providers to expand offerings in our community.

What are download and upload speeds? How do I find my speeds?

The download speed measures how long it takes to transfer data from the Internet to your computer. The upload speed measures how long it takes to transfer data from your computer to the Internet. Most online activity consists of downloads, such as loading web pages or streaming videos, and most connections are designed to download much faster than they upload. You can access Maryland's SpeedSurvey and test your speed at

What is cable Internet?

Cable internet is a form of broadband access provided by the local cable TV provider using coaxial cable. Check out our Cable Franchise webpage for more details on our Francshie Agreements

What is fiber optic cable?

Fiber optic cable is a high-speed data transmission medium. It contains tiny glass or plastic filaments that carry light beams. Digital data is transmitted through the cable via rapid pulses of light.

What is DSL?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is a type of internet service that makes its connection by utilizing unused telephone wires that cause no interruption to your telephone service. The ability to get DSL is dependent on the residence or business being within a certain distance of the switching station. DSL speed can vary based upon the distance from the switching station. Locations closer to the switching station will experience faster speeds than those further away.

What is satellite Internet?

Satellite Internet is the ability to transmit and receive data using a satellite dish, which communicates with stations orbiting the Earth. It is a popular option for rural or remote areas without access to land-line Internet.

What is a hotspot?

A hotspot is a physical location where people may obtain Internet access, typically using Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. Check out our County WiFi Resource map to see areas where this is available

What is Fiber-to-the-Home?

Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) is a form of broadband access in which fiber optic cables are run directly onto a customer's premises.