Delaware Department of Technology and Information Chief Information Officer James Collins, joined by Bloosurf LLC Founder and CEO Vincent Sabathier and his team, recently announced a partnership to provide affordable wireless broadband in targeted, rural areas of Kent and Sussex Counties.

In July 2018, Gov. John Carney and DTI issued a request for proposals to provide wireless broadband internet service to unserved and underserved residents and businesses in rural areas and set a goal to eliminate broadband deserts in those regions within 24 months. DTI estimates target areas include approximately 127,700 homes and businesses in the rural parts of Sussex and Kent Counties. DTI will provide funding for startup costs of about $2 million to design, build, operate and commercialize a wireless network. DTI has placed prioritization on low-cost services for low-income families to enable them to take full advantage of the internet.

The first phase of Delaware’s broadband efforts focused on increasing fiber infrastructure. The state’s initial financial contribution of about $1.5 million resulted in more than $30 million in private investment and 700 miles of fiber. Delaware’s broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state — from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes — improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009. This current phase of the project is focused on fixed wireless solutions provided by public-private partnership opportunities to capitalize on the strengths of both sectors to address gaps in broadband availability throughout Delaware.

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