Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a $50,000 grant for the Washington County Board of Commissioners’ broadband impact study. Currently, 79 percent of Washington County lacks adequate broadband Internet service because incumbent service providers have not invested the financial resources necessary to expand capacity. The lack of broadband Internet access in Washington County impacts the community in education, economic development, and community support services like public safety and emergency services.
The new ARC funding will help Washington County determine how to leverage a new 18.5-mile fiber backbone, or a fiber optic cable system, so that it can increase broadband availability throughout the county. Washington County received funding for the fiber backbone from a 2010 Recovery Act grant awarded to Maryland to increase broadband access throughout the state.
In addition to the ARC grants, the Washington County Board of Commissioners will provide $50,000 for the study, bringing total funding to $100,000. The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.