BERLIN – Worcester County will partner with an internet service provider from Chestertown to begin expanding broadband access in rural areas.
The Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to select Talkie, a Chestertown company, as the county’s broadband partner.
“They’re not asking for anything from Worcester County,” said Brian Jones, the county’s IT director.
The county issued a request for proposals in the fall in an effort to find a broadband vendor to partner with.
“We had several responses by phone but when we started going through the process of where we’re located and so forth and what we’re expecting from the providers it dropped back to two,” Jones said.
Talkie and Bloosurf from Salisbury submitted formal proposals. The county sent those to its consultant, CTC Technology & Energy, for review.
“They did an extensive grading process,” Jones said. “They basically came back with a recommendation of using Talkie.”
He said Talkie, which has eight years of experience, had a strong plan to begin providing service in the southern portion of the county. While grants are expected to help, the company has proposed spending more than $1 million in its efforts.
“They have an aggressive plan to move forward,” Jones said.
When asked about Bloosurf’s proprietary rights to certain parts of the county, Jones said that was no longer an issue.
“At this point most of everything they had on the table before has expired,” Jones said.
He added that Talkie had plans to move forward with three locations in southern Worcester County and encouraged the commissioners to make their vendor decisions quickly.
“There are some grants available today…,” he said. “We have to really jump on this pretty quick.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to select Talkie as the county’s broadband partner.
According to Jones, feedback regarding the need for broadband in rural Worcester County could help with upcoming grant applications. Talkie welcomes letters of support and communication citing residents’ and businesses’ specific broadband needs. Those interested in contacting the company can email [email protected].