Federal Funding Drives Broadband Access Expansion in Chester County

BroadbandImage via Pixabay

CHESTER COUNTY, PA — Federal investments awarded by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) are poised to bring new or improved broadband access to hundreds of residents in southern and western Chester County. This initiative, made possible through the CPF Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP), will catalyze projects at 264 service locations, encompassing both homes and businesses in Highland, Upper Oxford, West Fallowfield, West Sadsbury, Franklin, and London Britain Townships.

State Senator John I. Kane, Assistant Secretary of the PBDA’s Board of Directors, alongside Senators Carolyn Comitta and Katie Muth, heralded the $1.3 million investment as a pivotal step towards enhancing connectivity and fostering digital inclusivity across the Commonwealth. Senator Kane expressed, “This grant award is a testament to our ongoing efforts to improve connectivity and digital inclusivity in our communities around the Commonwealth.”

Senator Comitta emphasized the transformative impact of robust, reliable, and affordable broadband access, stating, “Strong, reliable, and affordable broadband access is a basic necessity that can positively impact almost every aspect of our lives from educational opportunities to job and economic growth to health and wellness services via telemedicine.” She extended her thanks to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority and congressional supporters for championing this significant investment in the state’s future.

Senator Muth expressed appreciation for the PBDA’s efforts in funding projects aimed at bridging the digital divide, commenting, “I appreciate the work of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to fund these Chester County projects that will help close the digital divide and ensure Pennsylvanians in underserved areas can access reliable broadband.” She highlighted the critical nature of such investments in empowering individuals and businesses in underserved areas to thrive in the digital world.

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This substantial investment forms part of the $204 million federal funding recently allocated by the PBDA to 53 projects spanning 42 counties. It is expected to positively impact Pennsylvanians in 40,000 unserved and underserved locations statewide. Furthermore, this funding is forecasted to stimulate an additional $406 million in private investment, culminating in a substantial $610 million broadband expenditure across the Commonwealth, underscoring the magnitude of initiatives aimed at expanding digital access and fostering connectivity.

In Chester County, the funds will support a $3 million project led by Comcast, with the company contributing $1.7 million in private funding towards fortifying broadband infrastructure in the region. The definitions outlined by the FCC delineate unserved areas as lacking access to broadband services with download speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps, while underserved areas exhibit broadband speeds falling below 100/20 Mbps download speed, highlighting the urgency of addressing digital disparities.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA), established as an independent agency under the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, plays a crucial role in orchestrating a comprehensive statewide broadband plan aimed at fostering affordable and reliable high-speed broadband internet access for all residents. By focusing on closing Pennsylvania’s digital divide, the PBDA strives to ensure equitable access to essential connectivity resources at home, work, or on the go, paving the way for a more connected and digitally inclusive future for all Pennsylvanians.

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