Last night Ken Ulman paid a visit to my neighborhood for a fundraising event at a neighbors home. Though I have heard Ken speak more times than I can count about the standard fare of quality of life issues, last night he spent a good deal of time talking about the federal broadband award that will enable HoCo to link every school and government building in the county with fiber optic cable.
But that only tells part of the story. After losing out on the first round of broadband money earlier this year, Ira Levy, the HoCo government technology czar, put together a coalition of all Maryland counties and this time they succeeded in winning a statewide grant.
Fellow blogger Frank Hecker has already written one of his well thought out posts about this so I won't rehash all the details. What impressed me last night with was Ken's acknowledgement that this was largely Ira Levy's initiative. Undeterred by the first defeat, he figured out a way to win in the second round. His initiative in getting all of the counties to work together as one also made HoCo the hub of this network. Getting all of the counties in Maryland to work together on anything is no small feat.
The long term ramifications of this are difficult to quantify because the possibilities are seemingly limitless for public safety, education and healthcare, not to mention private business. When completed, the State of Maryland will have the most comprehensive broadband network in the country.
Nice job Ira.