Delaware has successfully connected nearly 6,000 homes, businesses, and organizations to broadband in the last year and is on track to become the first state in the nation to be fully connected, according to Gov. John Carney.
The state assigned $33 million of funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for broadband expansion. Incumbent providers won most of the funding and are doing most of the expansion.
Those providers — Comcast, Medicom, and Verizon — have made high-speed internet available for the first time to 5,859 homes and businesses, mainly in rural areas of the state. Another 372 locations will be installed with ARPA funding over the next few months.
The Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) administered this program for the state. DTI contracted providers that were already serving Delawareans with internet while also finding efficient ways for those providers to extend their existing networks using ARPA funding.
Eric Fitzgerald Reed, public policy and state government affairs for the Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey region for Verizon, noted that the company looks forward to similar opportunities in other communities as they arise.
Chris Lord, Mediacom’s director of government partnerships, said the broadband projects have brought “world-class” broadband services to locations that previously were unserved.
“This is a great example of a public-private partnership that will not only help bridge the digital divide in rural Delaware, but also help fuel innovation and economic growth for decades to come,” Michael Parker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Beltway Region, said in a prepared statement.
Considering its population density and geography, it’s not difficult to imagine Delaware becoming the first state to have everyone connected.