The Delaware Department of Technology and Information announced a partnership with Bloosurf to provide wireless broadband in rural areas of Kent and Sussex counties.
Last July, Governor John Carney and DTI issued a Request for Proposals to provide wireless broadband internet service to unserved and underserved residents and businesses in rural areas, and set a goal to eliminate broadband deserts in those regions within 24 months.
Bloosurf, based in Salisbury, MD, offers wireless broadband in portions of Maryland.
DTI estimates target areas include approximately 127,700 homes and businesses in the rural portions of Sussex and Kent Counties that do not have broadband. DTI will provide funding for startup costs of approximately $2 million to design, build, operate and commercialize a wireless network. DTI has put a priority on low-cost services for low-income families.
“Technology is a part of nearly everything we do, making access to broadband as necessary as other public utilities in order for our state to thrive,” said DTI chief James Collins. “Without it, kids can’t do their homework and businesses are unable to operate effectively in the information age. The Carney Administration has made it a priority to bridge both the accessibility and affordability gaps of high-speed broadband to ensure that all Delawareans benefit from the unprecedented access to information and collaboration technology affords.”
“Bloosurf is honored to join forces with the State of Delaware and DTI in the important fight against the digital divide,” said Bloosurf CEO Vincent Sabathier. “Bloosurf will leverage DTI funding, DivComm towers, its know-how, its assets and its strategic partnerships to design, deploy and operate a LTE- advanced network. This network will significantly enhance coverage and speed in rural areas. We will also work closely with the State to make this new service affordable to low-income families.”
The first phase of Delaware’s broadband efforts focused on increasing fiber infrastructure. The state’s initial financial contribution of about $1.5 million resulted in over $30 million in private investment and 700 miles of fiber.
Delaware’s broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes, improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009.
The current phase of the project is focused on fixed wireless solutions provided by public-private partnership opportunities.
To the north in Wilmington, WhyFly operates a wireless Internet system in Wilmington. The city has broadband service through Comcast. Verizon opted against expanding its FiOS fiber after rejecting demands for a city channel and other services.
Much of northern New Castle County has broadband service from Verizon FiOS, Comcast or in the case of the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area Atlantic Broadband.
Broadband service is also available in many towns and cities in the state, including Dover and Rehoboth. Mediacom also provides broadband access in some coastal areas and Delaware City.
For more information about Delaware’s broadband expansion efforts, please visit dti.delaware.gov.