Montgomery County Selected as Finalist for 2023 U.S. Broadband Award for Technical Infrastructure

Per Montgomery County: “Montgomery County is a finalist in the 2023 U.S. Broadband Awards in the “Best Municipal Connectivity Program.” The County, which was recognized for having one of the best broadband infrastructure efforts in the nation, was the only local jurisdiction in the nation (county or city) to be a finalist. The winners will be announced at the Awards Gala Dinner during the inaugural U.S. Broadband Summit on Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C.

Upgrades made by the Montgomery County Department of Technology & Enterprise Business Solutions (TEBS) have enabled departments and agencies, including Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), to benefit from faster bandwidth speeds, reduced latency and increased network performance. This has been particularly critical as students returned to school and County staff returned to physical work locations during and after the COVID-19 health crisis. Beyond these improvements for residents and County employees, the data center migration and consolidation resulted in an estimated power savings of 88 percent and 74 tons of carbon dioxide saved monthly.

Expansion of broadband service and other digital equity initiatives are a priority for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. The entry submission by TEBS detailed efforts to upgrade the County’s technical infrastructure including FiberNet, network migration and migration of its data center to Equinix, a Tier IV data center. These upgrades provide greater performance, security, resiliency, efficiency and sustainability to County, and affiliates’, operations. They also support Next Gen Communications, Digital Equity and more efficient 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.”

FiberNet is 650 route miles of fiber network that provide carrier-class voice, video, data, Internet access, WiFi, Digital Equity and cable broadband services for 558 County, State, municipal, educational and regional sites. 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

The upgrades and migration enabled the County to reduce vulnerabilities and improve its disaster recovery and backup plan through increased security, resiliency and compliance of its systems and data. Additionally, the County was able to enhance its digital equity efforts by providing free internet access to more than 230 qualified Digital Equity customers.

“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 take place on Nov. 15-17 at the Westin Washington, D.C Downtown. The conference will bring together Federal funding leaders and state representatives with the wider broadband industry, including fiber operators, MSO’s, WISP’s and wireless carriers to discuss the future of broadband in the United States. As attention focuses on bridging the growing digital divide and the need to bring connectivity to the under- and un-served, the U.S. Broadband Summit aims to bring everyone together to discuss how collaboration will lead to a more connected and vibrant society, in benefit of individuals and communities.

The mission of TEBS is to be responsive, collaborative and innovative in providing technology solutions and services to facilitate the delivery of a wide range of services in all branches of government. The department strives to provide its solutions and consultative services in a cost-effective, timely and high-quality fashion to reduce service times, avoid inflated costs, reduce information security risk and improve the quality of County services through automation-assisted process improvement.

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