The Worcester County Commissioners joined Bay Country Communications (BCC) officials at the foot of the Newark water tower on October 19, 2022 to cut the ribbon on a new fiber-optic installation project to make broadband available in the Newark area. BCC is well known for its partnership initiatives, and representatives from both Talkie Communications and Choptank Fiber were also on hand to celebrate the new stretch of fiber backbone.
“Bay Country Communications is making rapid progress to install a fiber-optic network to make broadband available in Newark and are making their way down south,” Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said. “This expansion is possible thanks in large part to the commissioners who have made extending the much needed high-speed fiber to all rural areas of the county their number one priority. To accomplish this wide-scale, $67.6 million initiative, the commissioners have provided incentives to Bay Country Communications, Choptank Fiber, and Talkie Communications, the three vendors that have stepped forward to tackle rural broadband projects in Worcester County.”
County incentives include applying for state and federal pass-through grants on behalf of these organizations and distributing roughly $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to Worcester County to shovel-ready rural broadband projects. This includes allocated $1 million in ARPA funds to BCC, with a 15% match, to install approximately 31.8 miles of fiber in the Newark area.
BCC isn’t new to Worcester County. In 2016 BCC stepped in to provide service to the Worcester County Developmental Center (WCDC) after the organization lost its original Internet provider.
“The WCDC project became much more time consuming and costly than we anticipated,” said Brian Roche, chief technology officer for BCC Fiber and Maryland Broadband Cooperative (MdBC) board member. “We persevered. We leveraged a portion of the MdBC's network and fellow member Choptank Electric Cooperative’s fiber to get the WCDC connected. The entire project is an example of the way our company has done business over the past 30 years - bringing local partners together to solve the complicated problem of getting broadband to underserved communities. Since then, we have continued to invest in the area and solidified our ongoing commitment to the citizens of Newark and Worcester County.”
BCC, a founding member of MdBC, is currently installing 32 miles of fiber to make broadband available to another 566 homes and 10 businesses south and east of Newark. Those residing in this service area may sign up for service or request additional information by visiting bcctv.com.