Maryland Partnership Expands Broadband to Lower Shore
PRINCESS ANNE, MD – (Sept., 16, 2010) Traditionally underserved cities on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland can now look forward to broadband service, the result of a $3.2 million USDA grant and a partnership between Bloosurf, a Maryland company, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
“With the help of our congressional delegation, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is able to extend our commitment to creating jobs and growing technology and health-based businesses in our community,” said Dr. Ronald Forsythe Jr., UMES vice president for technology and commercialization, “and there’s still more to come.”
“UMES is a true high tech incubator; that’s why we partnered with them,” said Paul Carliner, president of Bloosurf. “This partnership will allow us to offer state-of-the-art broadband service, including 4G mobile broadband service, to Princess Anne and the surrounding communities on the lower Shore. This will be a huge boost for economic development and job creation.
U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin have been tireless advocates who were both highly instrumental to the project that will allow Bloosurf to build a wireless last-mile network for the rural areas of Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties, as well as Smith Island.
“To help rural Maryland compete globally, we must expand high-speed technology locally,” said Senator Mikulski, a longtime component of bringing the technology to the Shore. “The grant will help communities in Eastern Maryland connect to the information superhighway, as well as support new jobs, help small businesses and boost economic growth.”
“Internet access is critical to the economy of the 21st Century and this Recovery Act funding will ensure completion of the high-speed, broadband service to Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties and Smith Island,” said Senator Cardin. “This funding will ensure that residents and businesses on the Eastern Shore have much-needed broadband service and it will help to create jobs and spur economic growth.”
Rep. Frank Kratovil, a member of the House Agriculture committee, has been consistent in his fight to expand broadband access on the Shore in an effort to sure up critical job-creating infrastructure.
“I have consistently fought to expand broadband access on the Eastern Shore,” said Rep. Kratovil. “These funds will be utilized to help bridge the ‘digital divide’ and ensure that those living in rural communities have access to the information and tools that they need to compete. Strategic investments like this are exactly why I was pleased to vote for the Recovery Act—these funds will be used to create jobs, grow the economy, and provide critical services for those living on the Lower Shore.”
Leveraging $160,000 in private contribution, this network will provide 4G broadband to homes and businesses on the lower shore. About 126,000 people stand to benefit, as well as about 6,000 business and 351 community institutions.
UMES has been a long term advocate and participant in efforts to enhance network access in the region. Past efforts include completing the original ShoreNet study that pointed out the need for enhanced access for high speed networking on the Eastern Shore; providing seed funding for the Maryland Broadband Cooperative through the UMES Rural Development Center; and working with Bloosurf, LLC, to revitalize the Lower Shore Broadband Cooperative.
For more information concerning the Maryland Hawk Corporation, a university-affiliated, non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation, contact Dan Kuennen at 410-651-6183 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzanne Waters Street, agriculture communication specialist, UMES – University of Maryland Extension, 410-651-6084, email@example.com.