Baltimore has its first “broadband coordinator.”
On Aug. 26, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hired Jason Hardebeck to fill the $44,000 contract position. According to the Baltimore Sun, Hardebeck will direct the launch of a citywide broadband plan.
"The city has a fiber-optic network, and we're looking at how to extend that," Hardebeck said. "We’re going to develop a strategy to more effectively provide municipal broadband.
With the announcement, the mayor described the broadband infrastructure as “absolutely vital to our city."
Hardebeck’s work history on LinkedIn shows a wide range of public- and private-sector experience. He is the managing partner of both WhoGlue, a private social network company, and the makerspace Baltimore Machine Works. His government background includes time as an executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, from 2011 to 2014, executive director of the Maryland Business Council, from 2006 to 2009, and as an entrepreneur in residence at the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development from 2005 to 2006.
Baltimore's new broadband coordinator hire is due in part to a recommendation from the Baltimore Smarter City Task Force, which additionally advised that the city map its current network of private, public and institutional fiber to reveal coverage gaps.