The public comment period is now open for Maryland’s broadband infrastructure plan, which will utilize $267 million in federal funding to deploy broadband across the state, according to a Monday announcement from the office of Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Maryland’s statewide broadband plan, developed by Maryland’s statewide broadband office, has laid out a five-year digital equity plan aimed at closing the digital divide in the state. According to the statement from Moore’s office, Maryland’s digital equity plan “outlines how the state will equip citizens with the knowledge and resources to navigate the digital landscape, access online resources, and protect their privacy and security.”

The public comment period, required by President Joseph Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will last until Dec. 2, according to the governor’s office.

Governor Moore said “high-speed internet access is an essential tool for Marylanders to succeed.”

“We will ensure every single Marylander has access to affordable and reliable internet, as well as the resources to be able to connect, and the state’s five-year plans are a roadmap to get us there,” he said.

The Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband, created in 2017 as part of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, has invested more than $300 million into broadband infrastructure and equity programs, according to the governor’s office. As a result of those efforts, 52,000 previously unserved homes and businesses statewide now have high-speed internet, the governor’s office said.

Jake Day, who leads the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, said broadband is critical for producing equitable economic outcomes.

“Through these plans, the state will be able to close much of the digital divide and resolve inequities through the strategic deployment of funding from National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s investment in Maryland’s broadband programs,” he said.

Residents can review the state’s plans and provide comments here, on the state’s website.

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