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Celebrating 150 Years in Garrett County, Maryland: 1872-2022

Garrett County Receives $435,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative

Last Updated on Nov 10, 2022 at 2:34pm | Communications Office
An Appalachian Regional Commission grant of $435,000 was awarded to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners for the Broadband Customer Connect Program. This project will install, or support the installation of, 7,500 feet of broadband conduit. The conduit will then enable the deployment of fiber broadband services to approximately 300 Garrett County homes.

This project will allow Garrett County to assist Internet Service Providers to reach homes with “long driveways”; when homes sit too far from the road for the ISP to reach within the ISP’s normal budget and customers are expected to cover the added costs. The Customer Connect Program benefits rural residents who struggle to pay the cost to extend broadband services down "long driveways" to their homes. The county will work with all qualifying internet service providers to identify the homes in need and ensure that the appropriate cost-reduction approach is applied to connect the unserved.

“This award is another tool we can use to help our internet service providers expand to connect the estimated 6,000 remaining homes without broadband service in the county,” said Cheryl DeBerry, Garrett County Broadband & Energy Manager. “We continue to seek funding and explore innovative solutions to tackle this huge infrastructure problem.”

This award is part of a recently announced nearly $47 million package supporting 52 projects in 181 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.

“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties—when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “This latest round of POWER grant funding will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s food economy.”

On a local level, the county broadband team is continuing to work directly with ISPs to apply for state grant funding to expand their individual networks. Applications for the Connect Maryland: FY 23 Network Infrastructure Grant Program are due in December 2022.

Lastly, the staff continues to collect data on Garrett County locations without service and the status of internet service quality at the website: www.GarrettCounty.org/speedtest. Please consider visiting the website and providing updated information for your location.