The state has been working to improve its broadband internet services for some time. In January 2004, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation released reports on Western and Eastern Maryland, with a study on Southern Maryland the following year. They concluded that broadband service was scarcer and more expensive in rural areas ... I wonder how much they charged to discover that gem? ;)
Maryland passed the Rural Broadband Communication bill in 2006 to bring fiber optic cable to Western and Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. The Rural Broadband Initiative was launched to build a state-wide high speed internet service. Other projects include networkMaryland, which aims to create a state-wide network for public sector use and the One Maryland network that interconnects anchor institutions such as schools and libraries.
The result of this effort is that Maryland was rated sixth in 2009 with an average download speed of 8.3 mbps, up from 5.8 mbps and tenth place the previous year. In 2009, the state set out to map broadband availability, funded by a grant of $1.5 million from the NTIA for data collection and a further $480,000 for planning. The teams of the One Maryland Broadband Plan and the Maryland Broadband Cooperative have also applied for funding totaling over $100 million to extend their networks. The mapping project has been opposed by some internet providers, including Verizon and Comcast, who are unhappy about providing data.
Private companies have been extending their coverage, with ISP Verizon making its DSL service available to around 55,000 additional households during 2009. The internet provider also extended its wireless internet access, as did AT&T. Wifi hotspots are clustered around the center of the state and are relatively sparse in the south and west.
Known as "America in Miniature" due to its varied topography, Maryland has a climate that varies from humid sub-tropical to sub-tropical highland. It has no natural lakes and is classed as the narrowest state, with only one mile between borders at one point.
In 2009, Maryland had the highest median household income in the US for the third consecutive year. This is partly due to the large number of biotechnology firms based there and a strong concentration of service businesses. It also has large areas of fertile agricultural land and a diversified manufacturing sector. The state capital is Annapolis while the four largest cities are Baltimore, Columbia, Silver Spring and Dundalk.
You can check for providers in your city using our search function: Baltimore Internet Service Providers
Cities in Maryland likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Baltimore, Rockville, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Columbia and Annapolis. Locations in MD with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.