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Hundreds of thousands still lack high-speed internet access

August 7, 2020 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people in Maryland do not have access to high-speed internet.

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that the long-standing problem has become more acute as school and work move online during the coronavirus pandemic.

A 2019 report from a state task force estimated that 324,000 rural Marylanders lack access to high-speed internet. An estimate from the Abell Foundation shows that more than 40% of Baltimore’s households lack access.

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There are government and private programs that are trying to connect residents to broadband. But some worry service won’t come soon enough.

One challenge is that providers often are unwilling to cover some rural areas because it costs more to build a network and there are fewer customers.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan created the state’s Office of Rural Broadband to help secure federal funds and offers grants to offset costs. But local officials say it can be a very slow process.