WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission authorized nearly $2.9 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 2,454 homes and businesses in rural Garrett County Monday.

The provider, Declaration Networks Group, will begin receiving funding later this month.

“Obviously, we are very happy that DNG is receiving funding, as we have prioritized expanding broadband access for several years now,” Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards said. “DNG has been a great partner in that with us, and significant financial investment is needed to get to service to some of Garrett County’s more remote locations. This money helps make some of that possible.”

Nationwide, the FCC authorized over $121 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states in Monday’s wave of funding.

“As we continue to authorize funds to expand broadband in rural America, I am excited to see the benefits for rural residents who live all across the country, from Tribal lands in Wyoming to mountain communities in Appalachia, from the Great Plains to the Pacific Northwest, and the Texas Panhandle to northern Minnesota,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “In Garrett County, this round of funding takes yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opporuntiy to nearly 2,500 unserved rural homes and businesses.”

Statewide in Maryland, the FCC to date has authorized a total of $10.2 million to expand broadband to 7,418 rural homes and businesses. In Monday’s authorization, Declaration Networks will receive $2,880,040 over the next decade to deliver service at 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to 2,454 homes and businesses in Garrett County.

Providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

“This was census blocks that we were awarded funding within Garrett County about a year ago now through the Connect America Fund reverse auction activity and what the announcement was, was we have now cleared all the hurdles associated with closing the documentation,” said Bob Nichols, one of the owners of Declaration Networks Group, via voicemail.

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