A total of $56 million in Broadband Infrastructure Grants were announced as part of a plan to provide broadband internet access to every home in the state.
The award recipients, Comcast, Verizon, and Mediacom, are current service providers with existing broadband infrastructure that responded to a grant application released in October 2021.
The three companies will extend their existing coverage areas to serve more than 11,600 Delaware homes and businesses that do not have access to high-speed, wired broadband service. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
Cable companies typically limit their systems to more heavily populated areas that can generate profits. Delaware has among the highest broadband speeds, but has “broadband deserts,” primarily in portions of Kent and Sussex counties. In one case, a business park in Sussex County tapped into broadband in neighboring Maryland as a way to get high-speed service.
The State of Delaware and Sussex County have also worked to expand broadband access in earlier efforts.
- Comcast – $33.1 million
- Verizon – $11.8 million
- Mediacom – $11.1 million
Not included is Breezeline, formerly Atlantic Broadband, a carrier serving the fast-growing Middletown area. Verizon also provides broadband service in the Middletown area. Comcast and Verizon have overlapping systems in of communities, but not in Wilmington, where Comcast is the sole wired provider.
Over the next 36 months, Comcast, Verizon, and Mediacom will build out and extend current infrastructure to deliver fixed, wireline internet access with transmission speeds that, at a minimum, provide 100 megabits per second (100 Mbps) download and 20 megabits per second (20 Mbps) upload.
Delawareans can find out if their area has internet access and report addresses that do not use Delaware’s Broadband Hub (https://gis.broadband.delaware.gov/). DTI plans to update the interactive map with expansion project updates and real-time data. In addition, addresses reported as lacking service during the construction phase will be included within the current project.
“Expanding access to reliable broadband service has long been a priority for Delaware,” said Chief Information Officer of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information Jason Clarke. “Thanks to our ability to leverage funding made available from Congress and the President and with the support of Governor Carney, we are excited to execute on the strategy of our stakeholders and our well-positioned vendor community to close the digital divide in Delaware.”
The Broadband Infrastructure Grants are part of the $110 million program for broadband infrastructure Carney announced in August 2021. Funding for this initiative comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The grants cover up to 75 percent of the capital construction costs, with the internet service providers contributing a minimum 25 percent match. Stakeholders developed this plan with representation from the public and private sectors. Applicants had to be current State of Delaware service providers with existing broadband infrastructure.