The Maryland Broadband Cooperative (MDBC) is a member-owned and operated universal access, fiber optic network designed to deliver an advanced, world-class broadband network across the rural communities Eastern, Southern and Western Maryland fostering economic development and supported by its’ members who will provide Last Mile services. The MDBC receives funding to build the infrastructure through the Maryland Rural Broadband Coordination Board, which was formed under Senate Bill 753.
The driving force behind this rural fiber initiative are Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator E. J. Pipkin, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the five Maryland Tri-County and Regional Councils. Through their combined efforts the opportunity to establish a plan for a fiber optic network began. The result was the creation and establishment of the MDBC.
We recognize, of course, that the mere presence of a fiber optic network in a region or community does not guarantee economic growth and jobs. It is an enabling resource that, if successfully utilized, will help attract new employment opportunities and contribute towards improved health care, education and government services. Through a regional approach, local businesses and government will work together to take advantage of this advanced, high-speed network.
The MDBC is positioned to work with local communities and their regional councils, DBED and members to develop the full economic potential of this world class high-technology network. Specifically, the MDBC provides for:
- A true private/public partnership, including public participation in the governance of the enterprise providing the advanced telecommunications network infrastructure;
- An organization to construct, manage and operate the network, which will include, through strategic alliances, experienced telecommunications network providers;
- State-of-the-art technology/network architecture, including a route that traverses the Eastern Shore, Southern and Western areas of Maryland, provides connectivity to industrial parks, and will be part of a much larger broadband network running throughout the Mid-Atlantic region into Washington, DC and key Government and Private industry centers.
- Reliance on public funding only as necessary to make the project viable and to bring economic development and quality-of-life benefits to the region, including leveraged funds from the DBED, EDA, Department of Agriculture, and other State & Federal sources.
- Substantial economic development/competitive advantages.