A. There is an Office of Rural Broadband (the “Office”) in the Department of Information Technology.
B. The administrator of the Office shall be a Rural Broadband Director (“Director”) designated by the Governor and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
A. The Office shall:
1. Assist and support local Maryland jurisdictions in their improvement of access to high speed internet;
2. Identify and coordinate the delivery of resources to local Maryland jurisdictions for the improvement of access to high speed internet, including identification of sources of funds, such as federal funding, that can be used to expand access to high speed internet, and assist those jurisdictions in applying to receive those funds;
3. Work with local jurisdictions and economic-development organizations to identify areas with a demand for better internet service;
4. Identify opportunities for productive partnerships, including public-private partnerships, that enable sharing of resources and further the goal of expanding access to high speed internet;
5. Oversee projects that increase the availability of high speed internet service, including a demonstration project in Western Maryland and a demonstration project on the Eastern Shore, both of which will be completed by April 2018;
6. Investigate and identify new technologies that would increase the availability of high speed internet service in Maryland;
7. Collect, analyze, and share data relevant to increasing the availability of high speed internet service in Maryland;
8. Develop recommendations for policy, regulations, or legislation to facilitate increased availability of high speed internet access in Maryland, as well as strategies for implementing those recommendations;
9. Support and complement the assessments, evaluations, studies, and other work of the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless, and Cellular Service and act consistently with the goals and purposes of the Connecting Rural Maryland Act of 2017;
10. In the performance of these duties, coordinate with:
(a) the following executive departments (the “Lead Agencies”):
1) The Department of Information Technology;
2) The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development;
3) The Maryland Department of Commerce;
4) The Maryland Department of Transportation; and
5) The Maryland Department of Planning; and
(b) the following stakeholders:
1) County and municipal information technology officials;
2) The Maryland Broadband Cooperative;
3) The Rural Maryland Council;
4) Mid-Shore Regional Council;
5) Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland;
6) Upper Shore Regional Council;
7) Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland;
8) Tri-County Council for Western Maryland;
9) Appalachian Regional Commission; and
10) Any other such stakeholders that the Director deems appropriate and invites to participate; and
11. Submit an annual report to the Governor on the progress of the State’s efforts to increase access to high speed internet and containing any relevant recommendations.
B. Each Lead Agency shall:
1. Identify and coordinate resources and technology that can be used by local jurisdictions to increase the availability of high speed internet for their residents;
2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, share with one another, the Office, and local jurisdictions data relevant to increasing the availability of high speed internet for Maryland citizens; and
3. Update the Director within 45 days of the date of this Executive Order, and biannually thereafter, on its efforts to identify and coordinate resources and technology, and share data.
C. Designated agency liaisons. Each of the Lead Agencies shall designate an official liaison to assist and collaborate with the Director and Office in the fulfillment of the goals of this Executive Order.