HUGHESVILLE, MD – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Chair of the Regional Leadership Council, gathered with Southern Maryland leaders yesterday to address the progress of the Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was made possible by the Investing in America agenda legislation passed last Congress. The ACP, deployed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), aims to ensure that households in the region can afford the broadband necessary for work, education, healthcare, and other essential needs.
The roundtable discussion welcomed several notable guests, including John Hartline, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland; Ralph Patterson, Chairman of the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland and Charles County Commissioner Edith Patterson, Delegate of Charles County’s 28th District; Michael Young, President of Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Maria Navarro, Ed.D., Superintendent of Charles County Public Schools, Ms. Charmaine Thompson, Chief of Technology at Charles County Public Schools, and Sheleen Lewis, a representative from St. Mary’s Department of Social Services. During the event, Chair Hoyer presented a fact sheet compiled by the Regional Leadership Council, highlighting the implementation of the Affordable Connectivity Program in MD-05.
“We are witnessing tangible outcomes resulting from the Investing in America agenda, a series of laws passed by House Democrats and signed by President Biden, all across our great nation, and especially here in MD-05,” declared Congressman Hoyer. “Infrastructure encompasses more than just roads and bridges; it also involves creating economic opportunities, such as expanding broadband access and ensuring that our communities can afford to connect online. Currently, 12,000 households in the 5th District are enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, saving up to $4.3 million annually on broadband costs. I am committed to facilitating access for the additional 29,000 eligible households in our district, allowing them to benefit from this crucial opportunity.”
Maryland residents can visit the official website getinternet.gov to determine their eligibility and submit applications.
The Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program has emerged as a critical initiative in the region, addressing the increasing need for reliable and affordable internet access. By providing households with the means to obtain essential online services, the program contributes to Southern Maryland communities’ overall well-being and advancement. The roundtable discussion allowed local leaders to discuss the progress made thus far and explore potential avenues for further development.
During the event, John Hartline, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland, expressed his appreciation for the program’s positive impact on the community. “The Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program has been transformative for our region,” stated Hartline. “We have witnessed how access to affordable broadband can open doors and create opportunities for our residents. This initiative represents a crucial step towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring equal access to educational, economic, and healthcare resources.”
Maria Navarro, Ed.D., Superintendent of Charles County Public Schools, highlighted the program’s significance in education. “The Affordable Connectivity Program has been instrumental in supporting our students’ remote learning experience,” said Navarro. “By providing affordable broadband, we have eliminated barriers to accessing online educational resources, allowing our students to thrive academically. This program has been a lifeline for many families, and we are grateful for the support it provides.”
Charmaine Thompson, Chief of Technology at Charles County Public Schools, stressed the importance of continued investment in broadband infrastructure. “While we celebrate the progress made through the Affordable Connectivity Program, it is crucial to recognize that there is still work to be done,” emphasized Thompson. “Expanding broadband access requires ongoing investment in infrastructure and resources. We must continue to prioritize and allocate funds to ensure that all households in the 5th District have access to affordable and reliable broadband internet.”
The Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program is a result of the Investing in America agenda, a comprehensive legislative effort to revitalize the country’s infrastructure and promote economic growth. By investing in broadband infrastructure, the program seeks to address the digital divide and create opportunities for individuals and communities in Southern Maryland.
The program’s success is evident in the number of households already benefiting from it. With 12,000 households in the 5th District enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, significant savings of up to $4.3 million annually on broadband costs have been achieved. These savings have a direct impact on the financial well-being of families, allowing them to allocate their resources to other essential needs.
Congressman Hoyer’s commitment to expanding the program to include the additional 29,000 eligible households in the district highlights his dedication to ensuring that all residents have access to affordable broadband. By bridging the gap and providing equal opportunities for all, the Affordable Connectivity Program aims to empower individuals and enhance the overall quality of life in Southern Maryland.
During the roundtable discussion, representatives from various organizations and institutions emphasized the transformative power of affordable broadband. Michael Young, President of the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, spoke about the economic opportunities that arise from improved connectivity. “Affordable broadband enables individuals to explore new job prospects, start businesses, and access online training and educational resources. It is a catalyst for economic growth and empowerment,” said Young.
The educational sector has also witnessed the positive impact of the Affordable Connectivity Program. Superintendent Maria Navarro and Chief of Technology Charmaine Thompson from Charles County Public Schools both emphasized the program’s vital role in supporting remote learning. As educational institutions increasingly rely on online resources, ensuring that students have access to affordable broadband becomes essential for their academic success. The program has not only leveled the playing field for students but also contributed to narrowing the educational opportunity gap.
The Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program has garnered praise and support from local leaders and organizations. The Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland, represented by John Hartline and Ralph Patterson, recognizes the program’s significance in improving the region’s connectivity infrastructure and fostering economic development. Sheleen Lewis from St. Mary’s Department of Social Services also acknowledged the program’s role in connecting residents to essential healthcare services and resources.
As the program expands and enrolls more households, its impact on Southern Maryland communities will only grow stronger. Access to affordable broadband has become a fundamental necessity, enabling individuals to participate fully in the digital age and access vital services. The Southern Maryland Broadband/Affordable Connectivity Program is a testament to the commitment of Congressman Steny Hoyer and other local leaders to bridge the digital divide and create a more equitable future for all residents in the 5th District.
Maryland residents are encouraged to visit the official website getinternet.gov to check their eligibility for the program and submit their applications. With continued investment and support, the Affordable Connectivity Program can potentially transform the lives of thousands more households in Southern Maryland, fostering economic growth, educational opportunities, and improved access to essential resources for all.