Maryland State Plans for BEAD and Digital Equity

Maryland State has published its initial plans for BEAD and Digital Equity as part of the state implementation of the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) federal broadband programs. View t​he plan​ documents and public comment guidelines visible underneath the “Maryland BEAD Plan” and “Maryland Digital Equity Plan” labels below.

BEAD Broadband Challenge Process

Maryland’s Office of Statewide Broadband (OSB) Is beginning the 2024 challenge process on July 15th. This challenge process will allow internet service providers, units of local government, and non-profit organizations in Maryland to challenge the accuracy of existing broadband maps. Ensuring the maps accurately reflect broadband availability and speeds across the state is critical to directing federal BEAD program funds where they are needed most.

To contact our office about the challenge process please use the email, ​OSB.BEAD@maryland.gov.

  1. Maryland 2024 ChallengeUser Guide
  2. BEAD Challenge Portal
  3. Challenge Portal Instructions
  4. BEAD Public Announcement

What is BEAD?​

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program provides federal funding​ to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. The BEAD plan serves​ as Maryland’s State Plan establishing its commitments and strategy to support broadband projects over the next five years in alignment with the Office of Statewide Broadband’s objective to close the digital divide in Maryland. The Initial Proposal presents the State’s method of implementing the plan.​

Maryland BEAD Plan Initial Proposal

Initial Proposal Volume 1 and Volume 2

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program provides federal funding to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. The BEAD Plan Initial Proposal documents o​pen to public comment include Initial Proposal Volume I and Initial Proposal Volume II. The BEAD Plan will serve as Maryland’s State Plan establishing its commitments and strategy to support broadband projects over the next five years to close the digital divide in Maryland. The Initial Proposal presents the state’s implementation of the plan.      

Public Notice: Comment Period Closed for BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1 and Volume 2

From November 1 to December 2, 2023, all Maryland residents were encouraged and invited to read the draft BEAD Initial Proposal to share their feedback and recommendations. The Office of Statewide Broadband has received and reviewed these comments.      

While the public comment period is now closed, you may still share feedback and relevant comments or questions to ​osb.bead@maryland.g​ov.​        

​What is Digital Equity?

According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA):

“Digital equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation​ in our society, democracy, and economy.
Digital equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.”

For more information visit: Definitions - National Digital Inclusion Alliance​.

Maryland ​Digital Equity Plan

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What is the State Digital Equity Pl​an for?​

​Maryland’s Digital Equity Plan serves as the state roadmap to achieve digital equity over the next five years. The Digital Equity Plan guides the Office of Statewide Broadband as it implements its mission to ensure that every Marylander has equal access and the necessary skills to leverage digital resources, technologies, and opportunities, regardless of their background, location, or abilities.        

Read the State Digital Equity Plan

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration approved Maryland’s Digital Equity Plan in March 2024, which you may read below. The draft plan was open for public comment in 2023, and this feedback was incorporated into the final plan.        

Fina​l Maryland ​Digital Equity Plan​         

The Digital Equity Plan serves as a working document, integrating additional insights and continual feedback from the community. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, you may send them to osb.de@maryland.gov.