Tag: "howard county"

Posted January 16, 2015 by Christopher Mitchell

Thanks to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for Episode 133 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Howard County CIO Chris Merdon the Maryland County's efforts to improve Internet access by building a fiber network. Listen to this episode here.


Chris Merdon: In this case, the landlord believes that it's a great attractor to companies, particularly high-tech companies, to want to look at these -- maybe some of these older buildings, that aren't as attractive as the newer buildings, because they have that gigabit speed.


Lisa Gonzalez: Hello. This is the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. And this is Lisa Gonzalez.

In 2010, Howard County, Maryland, was chosen to receive stimulus funds in order to deploy the InterCounty Broadband Network, or ICBN. The network is now up and running, providing faster, more reliable, more cost-effective connections in the region. This week Chris talks with Chris Merdon, Howard County Chief Information Officer and Director, about the network. Merdon shares some of the innovative ways public and private entities are using the high-capacity network to improve the quality of life, education, and telehealth in Howard County. Merdon also describes how the ICBN has propelled economic development by providing affordable, fast, reliable connections to a broad range of local industries.

Each week, we bring you the Community Broadband Bits Podcast to share information about publicly-owned broadband networks and related telecommunications issues. Our podcasts are advertisement-free, but they aren't free to produce. We hope you'll consider contributing by visiting ilsr.org and clicking on the orange "donate" button.

Now, here's Chris, speaking with Chris Merdon from Howard County, Maryland.


Chris Mitchell: Welcome to another edition of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Chris Mitchell. Today, I'm speaking with Howard County Chief Information Officer and Director, Chris Merdon, from Maryland. Welcome the show.


Chris Merdon: Thank you very much.


Chris Mitchell: I'm excited to have you on the show. We met briefly after a session that you gave in Massachusetts, I believe, as part of the economic...

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Posted January 13, 2015 by Christopher Mitchell

While at the Broadband Communities Economic Development conference in Springfield last year, I had the good fortune to catch a panel with Chris Merdon, the CIO of Howard County, Maryland.

Howard County has become an Internet Service Provider, not just to itself, but to private firms as well. To improve Internet access for businesses, it is both leasing dark fiber to existing providers and directly offering services to businesses and buildings.

We are grateful that Chris could join us for a Chris2 interview! We discuss how and why Howard County chose this strategy and how it is benefiting the community.

Read the transcript of our discussion here.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

This show is 19 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed.

Listen to previous episodes here. You can can download this Mp3 file directly from here.

Find more episodes in our podcast index.

Thanks to Persson for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is "Blues walk."

Posted November 15, 2010 by Christopher Mitchell

Maryland received a very large award to connect hundreds of community anchors. This is an excellent use of public money (it will lower the future need for public money to fund local agencies). The award came from NTIA's BTOP program.

The broadband funding will result in vastly improved Internet speeds for local government offices, schools, hospitals, and emergency communication networks across Maryland, officials said. More than 1,200 miles of new fiber-optic cable will be installed across Maryland — a 50 percent increase over the existing network capability, officials said.

The money will be used to link 458 schools, 44 libraries, 262 police and emergency centers, 15 community colleges, six universities and 221 other government and community centers in a statewide network designed to be available and secure in emergencies.

As the networks are built with funds from the broadband stimulus, the networks will not be silo'ed, as is too often the case with public networks built primarily to connect community institutions. These networks will be available for the private sector to lease as well, creating more opportunities for broadband expansion and future competition. However, the track record of these middle mile networks creating last-mile connections is extremely poor. So let's not get too carried away, but it is a good step in the direction of local self-reliance and less of a dependency on massive absentee companies.

Credit goes to Howard County's Ira Levy, who worked for more than a year to put the project together.

Much of the money — about $72 million dedicated to the 10 jurisdictions in Central Maryland — will be administered by Howard County. It was Howard's information systems director, Ira Levy, who spent 18 months leading the effort to get the money.

Baltimore County has announced an $18.5 million plan to better connect their community institutions as part of the larger project.

Baltimore County unveiled an $18.5 million plan Wednesday that officials said will vastly improve the local Internet system, provide quicker links among public safety agencies, schools,...

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