up
Budget Year / Version:  
anchor
anchor
anchor

Description

The Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects project provides for capital funding to support Montgomery County's digital equity initiatives. Internet service accessibility, affordability, and adoption are critical factors in addressing equity disparities. Funding will support planning, design, and construction of: MoCoNet residential broadband in affordable housing developments to close the digital equity gap through the provision of free or low cost, reliable and robust residential Internet services, and devices, at affordable housing throughout the County; Public WiFi and Advanced Wireless Conduit Networks to provide conduit and fiber to support public WiFi and wireline and wireless broadband networks in commercial and community gathering areas of Montgomery County. Innovation Testbeds to spur development and expansion of traffic, transit, and pedestrian sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotic, and cybersecurity IoT applications and innovation in Montgomery County; Purple Line Fiber to connect Montgomery County research and higher education facilities to MAX and Internet2 at the University of Maryland, College Park; and White Oak Science Gateway Conduit Network to provide broadband conduit infrastructure in Viva White Oak and other White Oak commercial development projects.
anchor

Phase

Ongoing

Status

Active
anchor
Budget Snapshot
$21.07M Total
Expenditures/Funding
$15.6M 6 Year Total
Expenditures/Funding
anchor

Estimated Schedule

Digital equity installations began in FY21 and will continue through FY30. White Oak Science Gateway conduit construction will be performed concurrently with Viva White Oak construction. Design for public WiFi, advanced wireless, conduit, and testbeds in commercial and community gathering areas are underway and outreach to potential private partners is in development. Purple Line fiber connections are dependent on the Purple Line and third-party construction.
anchor

Cost Change

The increase is due to the addition of FY29 and FY30 to this ongoing project. State Aid for FY23 has been shifted to the operating budget.
anchor

Justification

Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects is a digital equity program, designed to ensure that businesses and underserved residents of affordable housing units in Montgomery County have as much reliable, secure, and robust broadband service as they need to live, work, learn, and keep our economy moving at the speed of our ideas. Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects also supports the County's racial equity and social justice goals by focusing our digital equity deployment of devices and residential broadband in affordable housing developments and underserved communities. Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects helps ensure that all residents have the broadband service and devices to participate in the digital world; expanding access to competitive broadband services in commercial buildings to support small and large businesses; and by leveraging infrastructure development and strategic conduit network deployment to create robust public WiFi and public private partnerships to support leasing of County broadband assets. Access to reliable broadband infrastructure throughout the County supports business growth and innovation in biotech bio-health, cybersecurity, IT services, financial services, media and similar high-bandwidth-consuming sectors, and for federal and state government, research and higher education institutions. Ensuring that all businesses can access reliable broadband services is essential to ensuring equity.
anchor

Other

This project was previously named ultraMontgomery until 2023 when it was renamed to Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects. This change was made to better describe the purpose of the project.


In 2021, the Great Seneca Fiber Highway was completed to provide the shortest distance, low latency connection between Great Seneca and Ashburn, Virginia data centers. Phase 2 of the East County Fiber Highway to provide regional north-south interconnections between White Oak and Howard County and east-west connections between Burtonsville and WSSC Water in Laurel is in planning. In response to COVID-19, funding for rural broadband is being provided through state and federal broadband grants and the Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects project pivoted to focus County broadband deployment on providing service to low-income affordable housing developments where residents do not have access to or have difficulty affording robust broadband service. Engineering, planning, and design work provided by the Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects CIP has been instrumental in preparing state grant applications. Because other resources can support rural broadband deployment, funding from the Digital Equity - Montgomery Connects CIP for low-income affordable housing is being prioritized over rural broadband.

anchor

Fiscal Note

State Aid in FY23 was shifted from the capital budget to the operating budget.
anchor

Disclosures

The County Executive asserts that this project conforms to the requirement of relevant local plans, as required by the Maryland Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act.
anchor

Coordination

FiberNet (P509651); Technology and Enterprise Business Solutions (TEBS); Purple Line Department of Transportation; Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; Montgomery College; WSSC Water; Information Technology Policy Coordination Committee; Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation; and affordable housing developers in Montgomery County.
Budget Snapshot
$21.07M Total
Expenditures/Funding
$15.6M 6 Year Total
Expenditures/Funding
anchor
Project Details
Project NumberP341700
Date Last Modified01/10/24
Administering AgencyTechnology Services
CategoryGeneral Government
SubCategoryTechnology Services
Planning AreaCountywide
anchor
Total Expenditures by Cost Element (000s)
anchor
Total Funding by Source (000s)
EXPENDITURES (000s)
Cost ElementsTotalThru FY23Est FY24Total 6 YearsFY 25FY 26FY 27FY 28FY 29FY 30Beyond 6 Years
Planning, Design and Supervision403057333831199799208121361361360
Land00000000000
Site Improvements and Utilities00000000000
Construction1671629141324124783918368032485445445440
Other321321000000000
Total Expenditures2106738081662155974897460040606806806800
FUNDING (000s)
Funding SourceTotalThru FY23Est FY24Total 6 YearsFY 25FY 26FY 27FY 28FY 29FY 30Beyond 6 Years
Current Revenue: Cable TV968733306795678184510207736806806800
Current Revenue: General2380478983919525802870000
Federal Aid00000000000
State Aid90000090003000300030000000
Total Funding Sources2106738081662155974897460040606806806800
APPROPRIATION AND EXPENDITURE DATA ($000s)
Appropriation FY 25 Request884
Year First AppropriationFY16
Appropriation FY 26 Request4600
Last FY's Cost Estimate20165
Cumulative Appropriation9483
Expenditure / Encumbrances4690
Unencumbered Balance4793