A group of Maryland counties and cities have come together to form the One Maryland Broadband Plan (OMBP). The OMBP, led by Howard County, just submitted a $100 million broadband stimulus application. The participating localities include the counties of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel, Harford, Carroll, Prince George’s, Montgomery and Frederick, plus Baltimore City and Annapolis.
The ‘middle mile’ plan hopes to build an interconnected fiber optic network, connecting “over 800 community anchor institutions across a wide swath of the State of Maryland.” In addition to interconnecting state and local government agencies and non-profit initiatives, the network intends to lease capacity to the private sector. Their application included “28 letters of support and 14 letters of interest from both public and private sector partners” interested in working with OMBP.
Maryland joins several state efforts, including Missouri and Massachusetts, to secure broadband network funding from the ARRA broadband stimulus program. My sense is, these state efforts will receive serious interest from the feds, particularly from the BTOP program. Statewide participation in the process is a stated goal of the program, and having state and local government participation lessens the perception of risk associated with these funding projects.