The Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN), a statewide initiative funded through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has put 1,000 new linear miles of fiber into the ground an connects thousands of entities through a single network in Baltimore City and Maryland Counties. This ‘middle mile’ fiber project connects Central Maryland jurisdictions, anchor institutions, and provides backhaul to major colocation sites, promising the dramatically reduce the cost of bandwidth across the region.

The ICBN is the second largest BTOP grant recipient and the only completely owned by state and local government.  The ICBN consortium is comprised of nine Maryland jurisdictions: the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.  ICBN partners with the State of Maryland and the Maryland Broadband Cooperative to create the One Maryland Broadband Network (OMBN).

Baltimore City was awarded $4.3 million for its portion of the ICBN build-out, which covered 19.5 new fiber miles and connected 48 anchor sites including schools and fire houses.  In addition to the anchor institutions, 18 high resolution CCTV cameras on Pennsylvania Avenue were added to CitiWatch operations with fiber optic cable provided by ICBN.

The final portion of the ICBN project is the Inter-County-Connect (ICC).  This part of the ICBN effort allows Baltimore City to connect via high-speed broadband fiber optic cable to Anne Arundel County to the south and Baltimore County to the north.   From each of those locations the connections continue to other jurisdictions. This strategic investment in IT infrastructure enables exponential growth and incredible information and resource sharing opportunities.

The ICBN project will facilitate video conferencing throughout Maryland jurisdictions, shared police and fire communications, state-wide sharing of closed circuit TV (CCTV) video, and many other technologies.

While Baltimore’s ICBN build-out is complete, the complementary 800MHZ Overbuild project will continue to build on the success of the ICBN project to maximize the monetary and economic potential of the City’s fiber network.

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