Department of Commerce partners with Coppin State University to close West Baltimore’s digital divide
By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
On Jan. 30, the US Department of Commerce announced a new collaborative broadband pilot program with Coppin State University, the historically black university in West Baltimore, called ConnectEagle Nation.
The program will improve broadband, high-speed Internet service throughout West Baltimore while making it more affordable for local residents.
ConnectEagle Nation, a program of Connecting Minorities Communities, received a $3.9 million grant from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The grant will help provide laptops and iPads and improve resources at the Enoch Pratt Library and other local projects.
“Promoting digital justice and inclusion is the right thing to do,” said Gov. Wes Moore. “This endeavor goes beyond the Internet. People apply for benefits and jobs, connect with the world and their community, and develop their skills online.”
The event was attended by Sen. Antonio Hayes (D-Md.), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) Md. ) were all present.
“I’m pleased to announce today that the Biden-Harris administration is awarding more than $33.5 million to 12 other HBCUs across America,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “We plan to give away all of the money at the end of this quarter to ensure we are getting the money to the community.”
The current fiscal quarter ends on March 31st.
“The pilot program is designed to address the critical importance of having access to adequate broadband and the need to connect more Maryland residents to an ever-changing technological world,” said Anthony L. Jenkins, President of Coppin State University. “Such efforts will ensure that residents can participate in the digital economy: education, telecommuting and helping communities attract new businesses.”
“Maryland is on the right track,” Mfume said. “I am particularly pleased that you
] lined up to receive these federal funds. I’m glad you decided to put the money not just in Coppin State University, but in the community neighborhoods that desperately need it.”
Visit Internetforall.gov for more information on America’s broadband initiative.
Tashi McQueen is a correspondent for the America Corps member.
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