The Lead

How to offer feedback on a plan to expand broadband access in Pennsylvania

By: - July 28, 2023 6:01 am

(Getty Images)

With $1.16 billion allocated for broadband development in Pennsylvania, state officials need help deciding how best to reach the more than 270,000 locations without internet access statewide.

Pennsylvania residents and professionals have until 5 p.m. Aug. 8 to send feedback to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority on a five-year action plan — “Internet for All” — to expand internet access and make it more reliable and affordable across the commonwealth with federal funding.

The bipartisan broadband authority launched an online survey to help draft the plan, which requires federal approval. State officials hope to gauge who is still without internet access and how best to improve access and affordability statewide.

The PBDA planned a series of community events to hear in-person feedback, with five remaining this summer.

  • Venango County
    • July 31 at 5:30 p.m.
    • Venango County 4-H Fairgrounds
  • Dauphin County
    • Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
    • Harrisburg University
  • Clarion County
    • Aug. 24 at 6 p.m.
    • Clarion County Learning Center
  • Lehigh County
    • Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. 
    • Northampton Community College, Fowler Family Southside Center, Room 605
  • Montgomery County
    • Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m.
    • Montgomery County Community College’s North Hall, Room 202

Pennsylvania officials hope to submit the plan by Aug. 12. Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said earlier this month that he expects the state will receive funding in 2024, with deployment beginning shortly after and ramping up in the coming years.

“The nearly $1.2 billion in federal funding is a historic win for Pennsylvania and will help provide the resources we need to finally make ‘internet for all’ a reality so Pennsylvanians can live more successful and healthier lives,” PBDA Executive Director Brandon Carson said. “Under the governor’s leadership, the Shapiro administration is ready to do this work to connect every Pennsylvanian to high-speed, affordable internet.”

The funding comes from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, included with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in 2021. In addition to the federal funds, Pennsylvania also received $279 million in funding through the Capital Projects Fund and $6.6 million in federal planning funds last year.

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