Montgomery County has been selected as a finalist in the 2023 U.S. Broadband Awards in the “Best Municipal Connectivity Program” category. The county was the only local jurisdiction (county or city) in the nation to be a finalist, recognizing one of the best broadband infrastructure efforts in the nation.
A gala dinner will be held in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 16 to announce the awards.
Notably, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) benefit from faster bandwidth speeds, reduced latency, and improved network performance thanks to upgrades made by the county’s Department of Technology & Enterprise Business Solutions (TEBS). Besides these improvements for residents and county employees, data center migration and consolidation also saved 88 percent of power and 74 tons of carbon dioxide per month.
Increasing broadband access and other digital equity initiatives are priorities for County Executive Marc Elrich.
TEBS submitted a document detailing efforts to upgrade the county’s technical infrastructure, including FiberNet, network migration, and a move to Equinix, a Tier IV data center. The upgrades provide the county, and its affiliates, with greater performance, security, resilience, efficiency, and sustainability. A number of other services are also supported such as Next Gen Communications, Digital Equity, and better access to Internet and cloud services.
“Being noted as one of the best municipal connectivity programs by tech industry leaders and innovators is an honor for the Montgomery County and a recognition of the hard work of TEBS,” said County Executive Elrich. “Creating a strong technical infrastructure is not only critical to the quality of life of our residents, but important to our businesses and economic developments efforts. We have been committed and deliberate in our actions to ensure that our County’s technical infrastructure is world-class. Most importantly, our focus to ensure equity to our 1.1 million residents, one of this nation’s most diverse jurisdictions, has been guiding our success.”
A county press release describes FiberNet as 650 route miles of fiber network that provides carrier-class voice, video, data, Internet access, WiFi, Digital Equity, and cable broadband services to 558 county, state, municipal, educational, and regional sites (video below). These include:
- 240 County Government sites
- 213 Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) sites
8 Montgomery College locations
- 30 Housing Opportunities Commission sites
- 24 Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) sites
- 22 WSSC Water facilities
- 4 Digital Equity sites
- 235 qualified Digital Equity customers
As a result of the upgrades and migration, the county was able to reduce vulnerabilities and improve its disaster recovery and backup plan by increasing the security, resiliency, and compliance of its systems. Moreover, more than 230 qualified customers were provided with free internet access as part of the county’s Digital Equity efforts.
“This multi-disciplined effort required careful coordination of numerous departments, agencies, contractors, vendors and systems throughout the County,” said Joseph Webster, the chief broadband officer for TEBS.
The inaugural U.S. Broadband Summit will be held at the Westin Washington, D.C. Downtown from Nov. 15-17.
Montgomery County graphic