Residents of Garrett Road in Manchester and Halter Road in Westminster may soon see some improvements to broadband networks in their neighborhoods, as could some residents of the Sullivan Road/Beggs Road/ Old Fridinger Mill Road area of the county.
The county’s department of technology services requested from commissioners at their Thursday meeting a budget transfer to provide the required county match for three grants, awarded by the Maryland Department Housing and Community Development for the expansion of existing broadband networks using Comcast or Quantum as the internet service provider.
“I’m before you today to take the final step in a long process that we’ve been working on with the state of Maryland to get some broadband grants,” Mark Ripper, director of the department said. “We applied for the grants four or five months ago and we just found out about six weeks ago we were awarded the grants.”
He asked the board to consider transferring funds that exist in the current fiber account into three separate accounts for each one of the projects.
Comcast network expansion for Garrett Road will cost $329,904 with the state grant award totaling $197,942, a provider’s match totaling $58,796 and a county match of $73,166. Expansion for Halter Road costs $325,302 with a $195,181 state grant award, $34,872 provider match and a $95,246 county match.
Carroll Quantum expansion for fiscal year 2021, which will touch between 15 and 20 different roads, costs $378,942 total with a state grant of $227,369, a provider match of $142,524 and a county match of $6,053.
Ripper pointed out when the state awarded the three grants, they reduced the county contribution as well as the contribution required by the interest service providers by 10%.
“The journey is still going because we still have other roads to light up,” Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R District-5, said.
Ripper mentioned the roads included in the grants were not picked randomly.
“The roads were picked because of the number of premises that were passed … and the cost to build,” he said. “It was a completely mathematical decision. … Some roads had more premises but would have been more expensive to build.”
Rothstein asked how many houses the three projects will affect.
Ripper told the Times that 53 households on Garret Road, 36 households on Halter Road and 80 unserved households and eight businesses in the Sullivan Road/Beggs Road/Old Fridinger Mill Road area of northern Carroll County will be impacted by the expansion.
At the meeting, the director said the department plans to come back to commissioners later in the month to discuss how they can use other federal funds made available to them through the American Rescue Plan.
Commissioners approved the request with Commissioner Stephen Wantz,, R-District 1, abstaining from the vote because he said he lives on one of the roads that was being discussed.