The task of providing Comcast service to everyone in Calvert continues and now has gotten less onerous on county funding.

After a project presentation Tuesday, the board of county commissioners authorized staff to finalize plans to build 100%, including addresses beyond 300 feet as identified in the county’s 2018 franchise agreement with the provider.

Additionally, funds allocated to Calvert through the American Rescue Plan will assist with full buildout. That allocation, plus a $1.4 million grant from the governor’s office of statewide broadband means the county will not need to use general fund revenue from the Comcast cable fee to pay for the $3.76 million project.

While Calvert’s franchise agreement with Comcast does not address broadband and internet services, the company has subsidiaries that market such services.

Although the funding picture has been brought into better focus, Linda Vassallo, deputy county administrator, reported the project timeline has been pushed back slightly. She cited easement issues and the availability of needed equipment as reasons for the delays.

To date, over 300 address points in Calvert County remain without Comcast connections.

Commissioner Mike Hart (R) said as a result of the severe impact COVID-19 had on schools forcing educators to implement virtual learning, home connection is now considered a necessity.

“It might be the only schooling they get,” Hart said.

Chris Comer, Comcast regional director of government and community affairs, said the project work in the Barstow area is the largest segment of work.

That fact is evident by looking at the county government’s geographic information system map of the county which shows project areas. The map is available via the county government website where a new “Comcast buildout” link is available.

Noting that Calvert started planning for the project months ago, Comer told the board, you’re certainly ahead of the curve.” He added the Calvert project could be a “model” for other jurisdictions.

“Every county is trying to address this problem,” said Comer.

“We hope citizens understand we made this commitment a long time ago,” Commissioner President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance (R) said of the Comcast buildout project. Hance told Comer it was important for the board and the public to be fully informed about the project’s progress.

“If there are any bumps in the road, we need to know,” said Hance. “We were willing to use our own money. We need to schedule regular updates.”

Hance urged citizens to look at the GIS map on the county government’s website dedicated to the project and contact county government if they feel their neighborhood should be part of the project plan. The broadband map can be found at www.calvertcountymd.gov/1537/Interactive-Maps/.

“We don’t want to leave anybody out,” said Hance.

Twitter: @MartySoMdNews

Twitter: @MartySoMdNews