The state entity charged with developing and implementing a plan to expand broadband internet access to unserved and underserved communities across Pennsylvania is asking for public input on how best to engage stakeholders.
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, a 12-member independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), opened a two-week public comment period on Monday to gather feedback on how to engage communities in the process of developing two plans: the State Digital Equity Stakeholder Engagement Plan and the Commonwealth’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan.
The digital equity plan “will focus on engaging eight primary populations required through federal guidance – aging individuals, incarcerated individuals, veterans, individuals with disabilities,” according to the authority.
“Feedback on our stakeholder engagement strategy and developing partnerships with communities, organizations, and individuals who are already doing this work is essential to our success,” Brandon Carson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, said.
The authority said that it will also form a Digital Equity Stakeholder Engagement Panel “to help inform and guide the implementation of the plan.”
“The Authority understands that different users have different needs, barriers, and preferences for engagement,” Carson said.
In November 2022, the authority released its plan for spending more than $100 million in federal funds to expand broadband access in Pennsylvania. In December, the authority asked residents to review Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maps for accuracy before continuing with plans to expand broadband access across the commonwealth.
The public comment period will end on March 10.
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