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Friday, April 09, 2010

SU Researchers Ask State Residents, Businesses to Test Broadband Connections

SALISBURY, MD---Two Salisbury University organizations are leading efforts to research and map broadband Internet across Maryland—and are asking businesses and citizens to help by taking a “speed test.”

Last November, SU’s Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) and Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) received $540,000 for the two-year broadband project.

Now, to assist with the project, state residents and businesses are encouraged to test the speed of their broadband connections.  To see the Maryland Broadband Map and take the speed test visit http://www.mdbroadbandmap.org or http://broadband.maryland.gov.

Once the data is collected and analyzed, the state will be able to more accurately identify and assess where broadband coverage currently exists, as well as where it needs to be established or needs to be improved with a faster connection.  Participation is especially important in rural areas.

“Many of Maryland’s citizens and businesses have access to high-speed Internet service, or broadband. Unfortunately, many do not, especially in rural or underserved areas,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “With your help, we can make Maryland one of the best-connected states in the nation.”

The broadband grant is part of some $2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds awarded to Maryland through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program.

Other partners involved are Towson University, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, the Governor’s Office, and the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development and Department of Information Technology.

For the project, the ESRGC is creating maps associating some 3.5 million addresses in the state with accessibility, quality and affordability of broadband service.  BEACON is hosting focus groups statewide to explore opinions about the future of broadband in Maryland.  Towson’s Center for GIS is collecting data from broadband service providers, while its Regional Economic Studies Institute is providing independent data verification.

Maryland data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, an informational tool to be used by policymakers and consumers.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.   



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