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Prince George’s County will Benefit from $115 Million in Federal Stimulus to Boost Internet Speed | News

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Prince George’s County will Benefit from $115 Million in Federal Stimulus to Boost Internet Speed
News, Schools

Prince George’s County’s elementary schools and other public buildings will soon have some of the fastest broadband Internet connections in the nation, thanks to a $115 million federal grant awarded to the One Maryland Broadband Network.

Over the next three years, the grant will enable the construction of high-speed fiber optic broadband connections to 115 County facilities, including every public elementary school and many libraries, fire stations, and other municipal facilities. The fiber network will also serve as a platform for private-sector companies to build “last-mile” connections to homes and businesses in areas of the County where residents are currently underserved.

The Prince George’s County Office of Information Technology and Communications has been a key partner in the statewide One Maryland initiative, which is led by Howard County and the State of Maryland Department of Information Technology. The two-year project involved demonstrating the County’s need for greater broadband connectivity at key facilities, and preparing engineering and financial plans to meet those needs.

“The One Maryland network will deliver to every child in our elementary schools the type of high-speed information connection that only a fraction of schools in the nation currently enjoy,” said Tanya Gott, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Prince George’s County. “We are delighted about the benefits that this advanced communications infrastructure promises to our children.”

The One Maryland network will build on Gott’s successful next-generation communications strategy, which has kept Prince George’s County at the forefront of both communications technology and the use of that technology for community service, not just internal needs. While her department’s goal to Web-enable every business function in the County is the most visible aspect of that strategy for most residents, such services are possible because of significant “behind-the-scenes” infrastructure planning and implementation.

Over the past decade, for example, the County has operated a fiber optic “institutional network,” or I-Net, that supports County and municipal public safety, educational, and other governmental communications needs.

The I-Net—which will link to the One Maryland network, further expanding its reach—has been hailed as one of the most visionary local government communications networks in the country. It was the recipient of the 2008 Community Broadband Network of the Year Award, presented by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA).

“We are proud to be recipients of some of the stimulus dollars.  I also want to commend my Office of Information Technology for their hard work and efforts that help to propel broadband access for our county and throughout the region.”  “That is truly teamwork at its best!” said Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. 

“The County and its local partners have worked for more than a decade to create an I-Net that truly serves the community, and we are gratified that it will now make it possible for One Maryland to expand access for our schools and residents,” said Tanya Gott, Prince George’s County Director, Office of Information Technology and Communications.

The One Maryland grant, which will be matched with $40 million of local and state contributions, was officially announced September 17th by Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Barbara Mikulski. It is one of the largest grants ever awarded under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)—a stimulus program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce.

News, Schools