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Harford County Celebrates Creation of Countywide Broadband Network

Broadband is a 'necessary utility,' Harford County Executive David Craig said.

Harford County Executive David Craig unveiled the broadband initiative on Thursday, May 22, 2014. (Credit: Harford County Government)
Harford County Executive David Craig unveiled the broadband initiative on Thursday, May 22, 2014. (Credit: Harford County Government)
Harford County Executive David R. Craig announced Thursday that a dream to link county and municipal facilities to one another and the internet has come to fruition, according to a statement from Harford County government.

The Harford Metro Area Network (HMAN), which includes more than 160 miles of fiber-optic cable, now connects every public school, library and volunteer fire company in the county—150 sites in all—the statement said.

"Just as electricity, water, and sewer systems are infrastructures necessary for daily living, broadband has become a core component for quality of life and prosperity," County Executive David Craig said. "Broadband is no longer a luxury; rather, it is a key enabler of education and commerce, and must be considered the next essential utility."

The cable is made with diverse fiber rings, meaning a break is not likely going to cause a service outage, the statement said, a vital safeguard for public safety and emergency communications. 

There is also a wireless component to reach locations not touched by the cables, according to the county.

HMAN will increase the capacity and performance of broadband connections, while lowering costs compared with commercially available services, according to the county.

“The investment that this county has made in broadband and connectivity will
not only improve communications and the delivery of services for citizens, students and businesses, but it will also reduce costs in the long-term,” Craig said.

That's because agencies that had each signed up with an external service provider had now pooled their resources into HMAN.

Beyond public facilities, the county said it was developing a business plan to provide dark fiber and lit services to businesses and individuals, filling gaps in the current market rather than competing with commercial providers that already have competitive service offerings. 

Maryellen Brady May 23, 2014 at 08:16 AM
A great idea ! Taking the leadership role in making sure that the internet remains accessible and affordable for the community.

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