Of all the states in the US, Maryland is ranked third in terms of broadband access ranking; it is outranked only by New Jersey and New York. The entire state enjoys relatively broad high-speed coverage, but even more so in the central part of Maryland. Remarkably, 61.5% of Marylanders have access to fiber-optic service, which is more than double the national average of 25% of consumers who have access to the same. In Maryland, user speed tests reveal that average download speeds are 196.2 Mbps, which is nearly the fastest in the country.
The Digital Divide in Maryland
While Maryland ranks among the states with the best broadband access in the US, there remains a digital divide between residents who have access to affordable, high-speed internet and those who do not.
For example, while 96.6% of Marylanders have access to wired broadband with of speeds of 25 Mbps or faster, 201,000 people in Maryland do not have access to a wired connection capable of the same speeds, and another 130,000 people do not have access to a wired internet connection at all. Further, 249,000 people in Maryland only have access to one wired internet provider at their place of residence, although there are 132 internet providers currently operating within the state.
However, affordability data shows that 65.4% of Maryland’s residents have access to what has been dubbed low-priced internet. To qualify as low-priced, an internet plan must cost $60 or less per month. Since only 51.5% of Americans have access to a low-priced plan, Maryland is comparatively ahead of the national curve.
Overall, Maryland excels in the area of providing high-speed, low-priced broadband coverage. However, a handful of cities in this small state feature the best combination of price, speed, and coverage. Currently, Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Hyattsville, and Baltimore are the best-connected cities in Maryland, with Silver Spring ranking as number one in the state.
Another $115,240,581 in federal grants has gone toward the Maryland Department of Information Technology to fund the expansion of broadband infrastructure within the state.
Additionally, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has created an Office of Rural Broadband with a mission to “to ensure that every rural Marylander has access to broadband services, regardless of their zip code”.
The information above is taken from a mix of public and private datasets. More about our data here.