PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania is receiving $6.6 million from Federal Government’s “Internet for All” initiative, these are the first funds to be awarded of the more than $100 million to be managed by the Pennsylvania Broadband Authority.
“Pennsylvania’s lack of affordable, accessible broadband is one of the biggest challenges holding our economy back,” said Gov. Wolf. “This $6.6 million is the beginning of a generational change waiting for Pennsylvanians. With guidance from the Pennsylvania Broadband Authority, distribution will be carefully targeted for guaranteed progress.”
Kevin Gallagher, senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, joined Governor Wolf in his Reception Room at the Capitol yesterday for the announcement.
“Pennsylvanians understand that unequal access to the Internet means unequal access to educational, economic and healthcare services and opportunities,” Sec. Raimondo said. “These grants will put Pennsylvania on the path to equitably achieve high-speed Internet service for all residents. I commend Governor Wolf for his commitment to the ‘Internet for All’ initiative to provide digital equity across Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania’s $6.6 million award includes funding from two programs:
- $5 million from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.
- $1.6 million from the Digital Equity Act to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the benefits of a digital economy.
The $6.6 million will be administered by the Pennsylvania Broadband Authority, which just last week released the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Broadband Plan to address the immediate and long-term needs of Pennsylvanians. Governor Wolf signed legislation to create the Authority in December 2021. The Authority was created, through bipartisan partnership, to serve as a one stop shop for all things broadband in Pennsylvania and manage more than $100 million in federal funds, working to close Pennsylvania’s digital divide.
“Families living without broadband face significant barriers in educational opportunities, employment opportunities and access to basic needs such as healthcare through telemedicine,” said Western Beaver County School District and Blackhawk School District Superintendent Dr. Rob Postupac. “For too long now, those in our rural communities have had to live in digital darkness. The time has come to tackle this issue.”
The Authority’s Plan to expand broadband across the commonwealth focuses on the challenges and opportunities including improving broadband service infrastructure and availability, digital equity and affordability, device and technology access, and digital literacy and technical support. With a clear picture of the current state of broadband in Pennsylvania outlined—including up to 800,000 unserved Pennsylvanians—the Plan includes actionable steps to achieve universal broadband access.
“From rural areas to highly-populated cities, many Pennsylvanians are struggling to access reliable, affordable internet,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “This ‘Internet for All’ funding will kickstart the commonwealth’s plan to bring high-speed internet to Pennsylvanians so that kids can do their homework, businesses can grow their operations, and workers can have more opportunities for good-paying jobs. We have the infrastructure law to thank for this robust investment that will lead to a boost in the economy, increased access to health care and educational resources, and better connected families and communities.”
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