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CNBC: Broadband is a prime reason why Maryland is the most improved state for business

In an annual ranking of top states for business, Maryland jumped 19 spots to #12. Infrastructure is a big reason why, says the popular cable business news channel.

Wavin' the Maryland flag. (Photo by Flickr user Austin Kirk, used under a Creative Commons license)

In CNBC’s annual ranking of best states for business, Maryland was is a noted mover.

The Old Line State moved up 19 places since the channel’s last America’s Top States for Business ranking in 2019. Now, it is nearing the top 10 at #12 on the list.

The position is standing out to the folks who put the ranking together. In a feature accompanying the ranking, CNBC noted that Maryland is the most-improved state this year.

One of the reasons, CNBC says, is infrastructure. CNBC notes the state’s moves to modernize its power grid. Of interest to technologists and policymakers, the state’s broadband system is also a big part of the reason. It notes a study that found Maryland has the third-fastest internet speeds, and its recent moves to create a state broadband office through the Digital Connectivity Act of 2021.

To be sure, there is still work to be done. In reports, the Abell Foundation has noted that Baltimore City still has about 40% of households that lack a wireline broadband connection. Statewide, African American households account for 40% of all disconnected households, and people below Maryland’s median income account for 75% of those without home internet service or a laptop, desktop or tablet. There are divides in connectivity, and the pandemic has only exacerbated them.

Yet the state is also putting money toward addressing that. The broadband office will oversee a $300 million allocation in federal aid.

Overall, the report shows the importance of broadband when it comes to a business climate.

The report also found that the state moved up the rankings for technology and innovation, that Maryland’s economy “weathered the pandemic better than most” (thanks, federal government) and it improved in education.

When it comes to areas where the state could improve, the report notes that there is a slowdown in educated workers moving into the state, a decline in small business lending and a need for road repairs.

While there’s still a ways to go to catch top-ranked neighbor Virginia, the improvement shows a step up, and the importance of tech and innovation in making that leap.

Companies: State of Maryland

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