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LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County voted to allocate $100,000 toward assessing local internet providers at their Tuesday, Sept. 15 meeting. The expenditure is part of the federal CARES Grant allocation and will be used to assess and provide a report of current internet provider services in the county as well as an opportunity for growth.
In response to the expressed need to improve current high-speed telecommunications infrastructure in St. Mary’s County, Bob Kelly, Chief Information Officer, Department of Information Technology, briefed the Commissioners. Kelly requested funding for an internet provider assessment. The expenditure would go toward the costs for meetings with local stakeholders, a survey of existing availability and pricing of internet providers, and executing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for high-speed services.
Reliable internet access in St. Mary’s County has been a top priority of the Commissioners. During the meeting, each Commissioner spoke at length about their concerns with existing internet service. The opportunity to put out an RFP would give the Commissioners a clear view of any companies in the area that could provide rural internet service.
While the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County have no authority to regulate broadband services, they encourage a competitive market and welcome input from potential service providers. “It shows that we are willing to take the initiative on behalf of our citizens to go ahead and try and find something else, saying ‘we hear you,’” said Commissioner O’Connor.
Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. St. Mary’s County Commissioner Meetings may be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube Channel.