Pennsylvania Invites Public Input on Statewide Digital Equity Plan

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PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) has announced a virtual input session for residents to discuss the draft of the Statewide Digital Equity Plan. The plan aims to ensure all Pennsylvanians are equipped with the skills, technology, and capacity to fully leverage our digital economy.

The virtual session is scheduled for Monday, December 18, 2023, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. It will offer insights into the key details of the plan and provide an opportunity for participants to share their feedback.

This session continues PBDA’s extensive statewide community engagement effort that began more than four months ago. The initiative has included 23 in-person “Community Conversations” and ten small-group sessions, providing residents across the Commonwealth a platform to voice their needs and highlight barriers they encounter in accessing digital resources. All of this input will be considered by the PBDA in finalizing the Statewide Digital Equity Plan.

“To create an equitable economy, everyone needs access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet and the skills, technology, and ability to participate fully online,” stated Executive Director Brandon Carson. “It’s time to close the internet access and digital skills divide experienced by far too many of Pennsylvania’s communities and its residents, and the Commonwealth’s Digital Equity Plan outlines how we can achieve statewide digital equity.”

The draft Digital Equity Plan is available online for public comment until January 8, 2024. Several methods are available for Pennsylvanians to provide feedback on the plan.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs promoting digital inclusion and equity. These funds aim to ensure all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full societal, democratic, and economic participation. Pennsylvania anticipates receiving allocation determination of the Digital Equity Capacity Building Grant Program in 2024.

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Governor Josh Shapiro had previously announced that the Commonwealth will receive $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband infrastructure for communities lacking reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, an independent, bipartisan agency established in December 2021, with the goal of closing the digital divide in the Commonwealth.

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