High-speed Internet may become a bit more accessible in Riverdale Park soon thanks to the One Maryland Broadband Network.
Backed by a $115 million federal stimulus grant, OMBN is designed to create a high-bandwidth link between more than 1,000 "anchor" institutions—including schools, libraries, and public safety agencies—across Maryland.
The project will also use community partnerships to help local Internet providers bridge the last mile and offer broadband service to under-served communities.
Plans to lay the cable in Riverdale Park have been in place for several months, according to Mayor Vernon Archer.
“I anticipate this will be a good thing to give us greater options and connectivity,” Archer said.
Locally, anchor institutions include Riverdale Elementary, Beacon Heights Elementary, University Park Elementary, Bladensburg High School, Riverdale Park Town Hall, and both the Riverdale and Riverdale Heights fire departments.
The new network will be more affordable than current methods, said Terry Welsh, quality assurance coordinator for the Inter-County Broadband Network. ICBN is a grant sub-recipient in charge of connecting institutions in Prince George’s County and several other jurisdictions.
“It is more cost effective for the county to communicate through this infrastructure, so it will save the county money,” Welsh said.
The network will allow for faster Internet speeds in the local elementary schools, Welsh said, and will make emergency service radio communications more reliable by producing fewer dropped calls and interruptions during crisis situations.
Riverdale Park Police Capt. Patrick Timmons said the new connection will likely save the department money while providing officers with a high-speed link to other county law enforcement agencies.
Depending on weather conditions and the amount of fiber optic cable to be laid, Welsh said it could take one to two weeks to complete the installation locally.
Once approved by inspectors, the system will be “lit up” almost immediately, Welsh added.