February 17, 2022

Van Hollen, Cardin, Trone Announce More Than $167,000 in Federal Funding for Broadband Expansion in Western Maryland

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced $167,229 in federal funding to expand rural broadband connectivity in Garrett County. The funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Area Development Program and will go toward deploying six miles of broadband conduit, improving broadband services for hundreds of households.

“The pandemic has underscored that reliable, accessible internet is a necessity for every household,” the lawmakers said. “Currently, 20-30% of Garrett County’s households do not have access to what the FCC considers ‘reliable’ broadband. This is unacceptable. Team Maryland will continue to secure federal funding to expand broadband service for our families and small businesses and support all of Western Maryland’s infrastructure needs.”

The ARC is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. The ARC mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the rest of the country. 

Congress recognized the ARC as an important resource by reauthorizing the agency and providing $1 billion in additional funds over five years in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Through the federal infrastructure law, ARC is poised to continue its instrumental role in supporting communities in Western Maryland in the years ahead.

Recently, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that more than 10 million households are enrolled in theAffordable Connectivity Program (ACP) through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The ACP, the nation’s largest broadband affordability program, is a $14.2 billion successor program to the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Low-income households are encouraged to apply to receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service and up to $75 per month for eligible households on Tribal lands. Apply for the ACP here.