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Delaware broadband connection plan on track

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Governor Carney spoke at the Innovation Technology Exploration Center to discuss the state initiative to connect all homes, businesses, and organizations to broadband. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE

Governor Carney spoke at the Innovation Technology Exploration Center to discuss the state initiative to connect all homes, businesses, and organizations to broadband. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE

SMYRNA – Delaware is making strides to become the first state with complete broadband connection for homes, businesses, and organizations.

Governor John Carney met with state leaders and representatives of Comcast, Verizon, Mediacom, and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) at the Innovation Technology Exploration Center to celebrate progress on broadband expansion and preview next steps.

“Our goal is to have Delaware be the first state in the country to connect every home and business to high-speed internet within the next few years. If there is any state that can connect every home and business, it ought to be Delaware,” Governor John Carney said. “Every family deserves high-quality internet for school, work, and entertainment. I want to thank the members of the federal delegation and the Biden Administration providing this funding. It’s really making a difference for Delawareans.”

In the last 12 months, the State of Delaware and Comcast, Medicom, and Verizon have made high-speed internet available for the first time to 5,859 homes and businesses, mainly in rural areas of the state. There are 372 locations remaining to be installed with ARPA funding. Those locations will be reached over the next few months. Once those residences are competed, the State of Delaware will have spent $33 million in ARPA funding on broadband connection.

“The American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continue to deliver for Delaware – this time connecting thousands of our residents to broadband internet who didn’t have access before,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper said. “The pandemic exacerbated many shortcomings with our broadband infrastructure, when so many Americans relied on it to connect to doctors for telehealth appointments, conduct schoolwork online, or work remotely. Today’s announcement connecting thousands of homes, businesses, and organizations to broadband is a win-win for Delaware and the success of these historic pieces of legislation.”

“The pandemic made clear just how necessary it is for every home in Delaware to have a fast, reliable, and affordable internet connection,” U.S. Senator Chris Coons said.  “I’m proud to have worked with President Biden to negotiate and pass both American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  These two critical pieces of legislation are directly benefiting Delawareans, sending millions of dollars to the state to ensure that all Delawareans can access the internet and critical digital services.”

“Having helped author the broadband provisions of the American Rescue Plan, as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I couldn’t be more proud that Delaware is on track to be the first state in the nation that is fully connected. Since day one of his Administration, President Biden has made clear his commitment to investing in the people and places that make America strong — and today, we’re celebrating those investments right here in Delaware,” U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester said. “Already almost 6,000 Delaware homes and businesses have been connected to the internet, and that means access to jobs, employment, health care and more. I’m thrilled to join Governor Carney and Senators Carper and Coons in celebrating this achievement for Delaware, and I look forward to keeping the momentum going with help of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“Investment in high-quality broadband is a game-changer for families, communities, and businesses. Today, there are families who can now access job information, telehealth, online reading materials and more thanks to these ARPA investments and commitment from our federal and state officials and partners. To close the digital divide and ensure every Delawarean is successful and thriving, it’s important to build on this work. Every household, every community deserves to be connected to high-speed internet,” Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long said.

Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is essential, and this investment of ARPA funding means that more than 6,000 additional Delaware homes and businesses will have the access they need,” Greg Lane, CIO, Delaware Department of Technology and Information, said. “We know our work is far from over. Additional federal funding from the BEAD and Digital Equity Programs will support the connection of an estimated remaining Delaware 8,600 addresses, as well as help us ensure that everyone can take advantage of digital technologies that are accessible and affordable.”

“In partnership with Governor Carney and the Department of Technology and Information, Comcast is proud to complete the expansion of its Xfinity 10G Network to thousands of additional homes and businesses in rural Delaware,” Michael Parker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Beltway Region, said. “This is a great example of a public-private partnership that will not only help bridge the digital divide in rural Delaware, but also help fuel innovation and economic growth for decades to come.”

“We applaud Governor Carney and his team for their leadership in establishing a robust broadband program in Delaware,” Eric Fitzgerald Reed, public policy & state government affairs for the DE, PA and NJ Region at Verizon, said. “Verizon is focused on delivering broadband internet services and this partnership expands high-speed broadband access to thousands of residents and will better connect our communities. We look forward to similar opportunities in other communities as they arise.”

“The public private partnership between the State of Delaware and Mediacom has brought world-class broadband services to nearly 1,600 homes and businesses in rural Sussex County that were previously unserved,” Chris Lord, Mediacom’s director of government partnerships, said. “Governor Carney and the staff at the Delaware Broadband Office should be commended for their steadfast commitment to eliminating the digital divide for all Delawareans.”

“CWA members are proud to have played a role in Delaware’s successful use of ARPA funds to connect an additional 6,000 Delaware homes and businesses to high-speed internet,” Mike Watson, president of the Communication Workers of America, Local 13101, said. “This is just the start. With an additional $107 million in federal funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Delaware can ensure that everyone in our state has access to reliable, high-speed internet services. And by setting high labor standards for broadband infrastructure projects, we can make sure it is done right, and create good, family-supporting jobs in the process.”

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