Greetings and Happy New Year,
The Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce, LLC., in partnership with Last Mile Broadband of Maryland LLC ., was awarded a Rural Maryland Council grant to conduct broadband demand surveys and high-level broadband network designs in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties. The funding provided is certainly not enough to conduct the surveys and high-level network engineering to fully cover all areas of the Counties.
We are enlisting the help of stakeholders in each County to identify 2-4 unserved or underserved areas in each County that would be viable candidates for our broadband demand survey and high-level network engineering efforts.
The criteria for selection would include:
- Presently have limited or no access to broadband services
- Ability to access to the Maryland Broadband Cooperative fiber backbone
- Areas that fit the USDA Rural Broadband Loan Program funding criteria
- A city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants
- At least 15 percent of the households do not have access to Broadband Service
- Priority is given to areas where the greatest proportion of households that have no incumbent service provider or do not have access at the level of service specified in the program’s definition of broadband service, as published in the Federal Register; which is presently 10 Megabits down and 1 Megabit up.
- No part of the area can have three or more incumbent service providers
- No part of the area can have previously received USDA Telecommunications funding
- Access to public and private towers, water towers and/or other tall infrastructures to support wireless broadband networks
- Ease of access to public and private right-of-ways; poles, ducts and conduits; commercial and residential buildings; and to city/town, county, and/or state assets
Our intent is to use the results of the surveys and engineering efforts to identify a town, city, area and/or development that would serve as a pilot project; in our efforts to bring affordable broadband services to rural communities. The survey and engineering results would also serve as the catalyst for applying for the 2018 USDA broadband funding cycles.