New Maryland broadband network gets underway

Maryland has broken ground on its new middle mile network, beginning with a portion that will serve the central part of the state. Thanks to a $115 million federal stimulus grant and $43 million in state and local money, the new network will bring fiber connectivity to every county in Maryland by 2013.

Similar to other middle mile network initiatives, including Massachusetts-based Open Cape, Maryland's state network will serve two purposes. The first portion of the network will provide services to various "community anchor" institutions, including schools, hospitals and public safety departments, while the second will provide wholesale connectivity to other broadband providers that deliver services to businesses and residences.

"We want to serve as the catalyst for getting to those businesses, business parks and residential neighborhoods that are underserved," said Ira Levy, director of Howard County's technology and communication services department. "The government is not at this time lighting the network for those industries."

Already, the new network is getting the attention of a number of possible users, including Johns Hopkins University in addition to area service providers such as tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC), AboveNet (NYSE: ABVT) and Freedom Wireless.

For more:
- The Washington Post has this article

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