Housing plan doesn't address broadband

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010

We read with interest the article about moderately priced housing, "Proposal would jack up density" [Maryland Independent, Dec. 9].

We noticed that one important issue was not addressed — whether such new housing, wherever it might be located, would have access to broadband.

Access to functional broadband — not dial-up, not satellite, not poorly functioning air cards — has become as important to full participation in today's society as water and electricity. Students need it to do their homework or take online courses. Small businesses need it to be competitive. Broadband allows work from home, giving workers more time with families and improving conditions on our clogged roads. The list goes on.

In reality, thousands of Charles County residents do not have this basic necessity at their homes. We have recently founded the Charles County Maryland Broadband Initiative in the hopes of working with county government to address this critical problem.

In the meantime, it is essential that county decision-makers — the commissioners, planning commission members and others — ensure that the problem is not worsened by allowing new development without broadband in place. In fact, we would hope that broadband access becomes a requirement along with roads, police, fire and water in the county decision-making process.

For more information or to join the CCMDBI effort, go to www.ccmdbi.org.

Margaret Schmid, Accokeek

The writer is the Charles County Maryland Broadband Initiative coordinator.