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Monday, November 22, 2010

ESRGC Broadband Grant Expands to Over $2.12 Million

SALISBURY, MD---The Maryland Broadband Cooperative, Inc. (MdBC) really, really likes Salisbury University’s work with the state’s broadband mapping initiative.  After the first year of the project, the contract for the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) has been extended to five years and increased to more than $2.12 million.

“With the increase from $502,832 to $2,121,160, this is now the largest single externally funded project in SU history,” said Dr. Clifton Griffin, dean of graduate studies and research.  “The ESRGC is doing tremendous work and is a prime example of the University’s growing research capabilities, particularly in science-related fields.”

“MdBC is grateful for the extraordinary partnerships it has with organizations such as the ESRGC,” said Drew Van Dopp, MdBC director of administration.  “Operating within a challenging schedule, the ESRGC, as the technical lead for the project, has met or surpassed every grant requirement and has developed leading practices that are benefiting the people and businesses of Maryland.  The ESRGC is being emulated by other states and has been recognized by federal officials for its creative solutions to complex issues.”

He added that the best measure of the team’s performance is reflected by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration more than doubling its investment in Maryland’s broadband mapping and planning initiatives.  Originally slated for two years, the project first started in November 2009.

With the extension, the ESRGC is taking on a number of additional tasks related to expanding scope of the online broadband map: www.mdbroadbandmap.org/map.

Right now, the map shows the service areas of some 40 broadband providers that have their own physical infrastructure.  The ESRGC will be adding data about companies that rent the lines of these providers and resell broadband service to consumers.  It also will track WiFi hotspots.  Maryland residents and businesses are still encouraged to view the map and provide feedback about where service areas may differ.

“These substantial enhancements allow SU and the ESRGC to support seven staff positions and create significant opportunities for graduate students and undergraduate student interns,” said Dr. Michael Scott, ESRGC director.  Specifically, the ESRGC will be hiring three individuals to work out of Maryland’s Department of Information Technology to support strategic broadband planning at the state level. 

“As an outreach organization of the University, the ESRGC is providing wonderful hands-on learning opportunities for SU students and helping state residents and businesses at the same time,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, dean of the Henson School of Science and Technology.

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



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