The Need for Broadband Service in Frederick County
Broadband service, or high-speed access to the Internet, has become a critical part of our infrastructure, much like housing and transportation. Today’s family is very dependent on being able to access the Internet for communication, as much as using the phone, if not more. In fact, phones now utilize Internet capabilities through a growing number of applications.
Broadband service is also critical in the education of our children through virtual home learning – now during the COVID-19 pandemic more than ever. Families may have computers or phones, but are not able to connect to the Internet, due to either lack of service or inability to afford the service.
Frederick County has done studies dating back to 2013 that have identified the need of families in the more remote areas of the County for broadband service, but solutions have not been implemented. The need persists, and has only become more urgent.
Who it Serves
It is not only families in their homes who need broadband, but as more remote areas grow in population, businesses will also grow to serve people, so these businesses will need that connectivity to the Internet. In addition, new schools are being planned and built, which will exponentially increase the need for broadband. Another pressing need is for telehealth calls by healthcare professionals.
What we need now is a plan for providing broadband implementation for the remote areas of Frederick County, to be integrated with the entire county and surrounding areas. Frederick County has started applying for state grants for funding; next steps will include providing the infrastructure for the construction of towers, and identifying/obtaining providers of broadband. We cannot wait any longer, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the critical need for connectivity, particularly for the education of our children.
Frederick County is an extremely attractive area for businesses to establish and grow their operations, as we have seen with Navy Federal Credit Union, American Woodmark, Amazon, and many others. As such, broadband is a key infrastructure component for businesses (new and existing), schools, homes, and healthcare. We need to plan and prepare for future growth, particularly in the county’s more remote areas!