Monday, August 31, 2020

Rural MD to Get Broadband

Maryland has a plan to beam internet to rural students. But officials say it won’t be ready until next year.
Maryland plans to build a wireless network for education that could beam a reliable, high-speed internet connection to homebound students, reaching the state’s most rural, isolated pockets.

But the network will likely take a year to build. In the meantime, many students are being asked to learn virtually this fall, despite living in parts of Maryland internet service providers have passed over for expansion.
Goh, I hope their back to school by then. They should be, it will be after the election
Officials don’t have a clear picture of exactly which students live in unserved areas, nor where they are located. For now, the state has prioritized building the network around rural communities over population-dense locales like Baltimore.

School systems will have to make do with a patchwork of solutions to help students among the estimated 324,000 rural Marylanders who lack access to high-speed internet, according to a 2019 report from a state task force.

“It’s like they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago,” said Scott Boone, IT director for Kent County, one of the first regions slated for the new network. “When’s the next best time? Right now. This may not be our last pandemic.”
A friend of mine, who lives not so far away, but a ways down a rural road without a reasonable sized community nearby, just got cable this year.

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