Shore Broadband Effort Celebrated

SNOW HILL — State officials celebrated the official completion of the One Maryland Broadband Network (OMBN) this week, but one related project is currently in the works that could be a “game changer” in the words of a local elected official.
Sitting as chair of the board for OMBN when it began in 2003, County Commissioner Virgil Shockley is still involved and confirmed this week there is one more effort in the works, though it’s classified at this point.
“That was the connecting dot yesterday,” he said of the state celebration at Kent Island High School Tuesday for the official end of OMBN.
The project officially wrapped on Aug. 31 and encompassed 1,321 miles of fiber route and connects over 1,066 community anchor institutions like schools, police facilities, libraries and colleges across the state. However, Shockley said that there will be one final hurrah for Maryland Broadband in the near future.
“When we’re finished this, it will bring redundancy and connectivity, the likes of which you’ve never seen,” he predicted. “This is the game changer right here.”
Unable to dive into the details, Shockley was only willing to say that the next and final step is something that the board had discussed eight years prior but was unable to achieve. He will be having a meeting this week on the subject and expects more information to be released within the next 30 days.
“It is classified but, as part of that project, it will bring a loop to and redundancy to, everything in Maryland,” said Shockley.
The state is hailing OMBN as an example of how federal, local and state interests can work cooperatively.
“The One Maryland Broadband Network has been regarded as a model partnership between federal, state and local communities,” read a release from Governor Martin O’Malley’s office. “Maryland communities are now able to access affordable, abundant and very high speed broadband in every part of our state. This infrastructure is paving the way for the future of high-speed internet service in our state while expanding economic opportunities, increasing our ability to provide public safety and health services, and strengthening our small business communities.”
The total cost of the project has been $158.4 million, with $115.2 million in federal grant funding and $43.2 million in matching funds from state and local sources.