Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced Friday that the state is making a $27.2 million investment in devices as part of an effort to ensure residents have the technology to access reliable, high-speed internet.
The Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband’s Connected Devices Program plans to deliver more than 133,000 Chromebooks to 27 local governments to distribute to communities across Maryland. Moore said the program will provide underserved households with tools to succeed and connect them to more opportunities.
“These devices are a gateway for Marylanders to be able to apply for jobs, complete schoolwork and connect with vital community resources,” Moore said in a press release. “In partnership with local governments and community organizations, we are connecting underserved households with the tools they need to succeed and to connect with more opportunities.”
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, where the Office of Statewide Broadband is housed, awarded grants to all 27 jurisdictions that applied. Most jurisdictions also received funding this year to help pay for the distribution of devices, which ranged in number “from 10 to 30,000” devices, according to the press release.
“Through the Office of Statewide Broadband, the Moore-Miller Administration is working to bring high-speed internet to all corners of Maryland,” Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day said in the release. “In addition to our infrastructure improvements that are bringing underserved communities online, the Office and our Department are focused on closing the digital divide.”
The housing department partnered with HP Inc. and Daly Computers, a Mid-Atlantic IT services firm, to supply the Chromebooks. It also partnered with the University of Maryland’s TechExtension, which provides free, one-on-one tech support to any Marylander seeking assistance with a device.