In Luzerne County, Governor Shapiro Highlights Administration’s Plans to Bring High-Speed, Affordable Broadband to Every Pennsylvania Community
July 12, 2023
Pennsylvania will receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband and the PBDA will create a five-year plan to implement that funding to connect every Pennsylvanian to high-speed affordable internet
Pittston, PA – Today, during a visit to the Pittston Memorial Library in Luzerne County, Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson highlighted the Shapiro Administration’s plans to expand broadband access across the Commonwealth using more than $1.16 billion in funding through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and outlined plans to ensure every Pennsylvanian can access the internet.
Last month, Governor Shapiro announced that the Commonwealth will receive $1.16 billion to expand broadband infrastructure to communities that currently lack reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access as a part of President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative. Across Luzerne County, residents have varying access to broadband services, and more than 7,000 locations are currently unserved or underserved. The Shapiro Administration is working to change that so every Luzerne County resident can access reliable, affordable, high-speed internet, which will lead to better health outcomes, better education outcomes, and better economic outcomes.
“Across Pennsylvania, more than 276,000 households, businesses, schools, and libraries don’t have access to broadband at all – and another 52,000 don’t have access to broadband they can rely on when they need it. In Luzerne County alone, more than 7,000 locations are unserved or underserved,” said Governor Shapiro. “Connecting people to high speed, affordable internet, right now, will help grow our economy and strengthen our communities. My Administration is ready to do that work – and thanks to support from our federal partners like President Biden, Senator Casey, Senator Fetterman, and Congressman Cartwright, the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority will continue to partner with local and federal officials to bring broadband to communities all across Pennsylvania.”
The $1.16 billion in BEAD funding to the Commonwealth will be administered by the PBDA – an independent, bipartisan agency created by law in December 2021. The PBDA is in the process of creating a five-year action plan that will put broadband in every community across Pennsylvania.
“The nearly $1.2 billion in federal funding is a historic win for Pennsylvania and will help provide the resources we need to finally make ‘internet for all’ a reality so Pennsylvanians can live more successful and healthier lives,” said Brandon Carson, Executive Director of the PBDA. “Under the Governor’s leadership, the Shapiro Administration is ready to do this work to connect every Pennsylvanian to high-speed affordable internet.”
The PBDA 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 map. The Federal Communications Commission has upheld 32,000 of those submitted, making those locations eligible for federal BEAD funding and helping to ensure Pennsylvania received its share of the BEAD funding.
The PBDA is now working to complete a five-year action plan for Pennsylvania’s BEAD allocation, which will set the vision for the implementation of these funds. Following the NTIA’s approval of the plan, the Commonwealth is expected to receive the BEAD funding in 2024 and the PBDA plans to begin awarding subgrants to approved, eligible applicants in 2024.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to participate in the community engagement events taking place around the Commonwealth throughout the summer. The feedback collected from these events and through an online survey will be used to help shape broadband programs – including Pennsylvania’s 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 PBDA’s website to learn more about its work to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.
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