By Julia Lee

Capital News Service 

Rural areas in less populated Maryland counties have significantly less access to high speed internet than people in more populated parts of the state, preventing them from fully participating in an increasingly connected world.

For example, two-thirds of people in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore lack access to a connection with download speeds greater than 25 megabytes per second, compared with less than 1% in Howard County, according to FCC data.

In sparsely populated counties — like Dorchester on the Eastern Shore — and densely populated counties — like Montgomery County — people who live in rural parts of a county have less access to high speed internet than people in more urbanized parts.

But only 6% of rural Montgomery county residents lack high speed access — compared with 41% of rural Dorchester county residents.

The takeaway: In counties that are more urban than rural, the vast majority of people in the county’s rural areas have good access to high speed internet.

In counties that are more rural than urban — like most of the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland — people in rural parts of the county are much more likely to get left behind. Source: Federal Communications Commission.