Governor Shapiro Announces Pennsylvania Will Receive $1.16 Billion in New Federal Funding to Expand Affordable, High-Speed Internet Access Across the Commonwealth
June 26, 2023
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro announced the Commonwealth will receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas to make sure every Pennsylvanian has access to affordable, high-speed internet. The funding is coming to Pennsylvania through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and is part of President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative.
The BEAD funding will be used to extend broadband infrastructure to areas of the Commonwealth that currently lack access to reliable, high-speed internet. Thanks to this significant investment, the Shapiro Administration will now have the resources it needs to connect Pennsylvanians to the internet and ensure they can go to school, start and grow businesses, and access telemedicine no matter where they live.
Since day one, Governor Shapirohas said extending and expanding access to broadband across the Commonwealth and making connections more reliable and affordable for Pennsylvanians is a top priority of his Administration.
“By expanding access to affordable, high-speed internet to every Pennsylvanian, we can create real opportunities for our students, our businesses, and our communities to learn, grow, and thrive,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Thanks to this historic investment from the federal government, my Administration has the resources to work with our community partners across the Commonwealth to bring reliable internet at high speeds and for affordable prices to every corner and every community in the Commonwealth.”
The $1.16 billion in BEAD funding to the Commonwealth will be administered by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (Authority), an independent, bipartisan agency created by law in December 2021.
“We’re thrilled the Commonwealth is receiving this historic allocation — we’ve worked hard over the last year to ensure Pennsylvania received the funding it needs to finally address the connectivity issues impacting our communities,” said Brandon Carson, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority. “Everyone in the Commonwealth should have access to affordable, high-speed internet and the Authority is committed to making that a reality.
In preparation for this announcement, the Authority worked with Penn State Extension to identify more than 50,000 locations in Pennsylvania that lack access to high-speed internet but weren’t included in the federal government’s initial survey. So far, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld more than 28,000 of those challenges, making those locations eligible for federal BEAD funding and helping ensure Pennsylvania received its share of the BEAD funding.
The Authority is now working to complete a five-year action plan for Pennsylvania’s BEAD allocation, which must be submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by August 12, 2023. Pennsylvania will receive the BEAD funding in 2024 following the NTIA’s approval of the plan. The Authority plans to award subgrants to approved, eligible applicants before the end of 2024.
This past Friday, the Authority encouraged Pennsylvanians to participate in community engagement events that are being held around the Commonwealth throughout the summer. Feedback will be collected from these events, as well as an online survey, and used to help shape broadband programs, including the five-year BEAD action plan.
To date, Pennsylvania has received more than $1.5 billion in federal funding allocations for its broadband efforts. In addition to the BEAD funding, Pennsylvania also received $279 million in funding through the Capital Projects Fund and $6.6 million in federal planning funds in 2022.
Visit the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s website to learn more about its work to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.
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