In January 2018, QAC established a Broadband Advisory Council (BAC) with representation across all four districts. Since this time, the BAC has interviewed every internet service provider (ISP) in the area to discuss their possible involvement in expanding broadband in QAC. This process resulted in hiring an outside consultant (CTC Technology and Energy) to obtain a high-level understanding and estimated cost to serve unserved and underserved areas in QAC (read the strategic plan). Its main findings were:
“Most residents of Queen Anne’s County have access to a mix of internet services, but many
locations do not have robust broadband services. For example, Comcast delivers service in only
a small portion of the County. And while Atlantic Broadband provides residential wired broadband service in the County’s denser neighborhoods, it does not provide service that meets the definition of broadband in sparsely populated areas. Because of the challenging economics of broadband deployment in rural areas, private ISPs likely will not invest in ubiquitous broadband infrastructure in currently unserved parts of the County absent some sort of financial support. State and federal funding programs may present the County and its potential partners with opportunities to fill some broadband gaps.”
Prior to the completion of the strategic plan, QAC partnered with the state of Maryland on a grant application to provide service to an underserved, but “shovel-ready” District 2 region to connect a neighborhood too far from the main fiber line. The project was completed in December of 2020. The BAC meets monthly to review areas appropriate for fiber and wireless projects, meet with ISPs, evaluate contracts, and apply for grants. All meetings are open to the public.