100,000 PA residents to benefit from American Rescue Plan’s broadband expansion projects

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaking about broadband expansion at the Carnegie Free Library in Beaver Falls on July 7, 2023. (Photo: Commonwealth Media Services)

By Sean Kitchen

April 29, 2024

The Shapiro administration announced earlier this month it is distributing $204 million from the American Rescue Plan for high-speed internet expansion in 42 counties. 40,000 households and businesses and up to 100,000 residents will benefit.

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania households and businesses are set to receive affordable high-speed internet access thanks to federal funding from the Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP), part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

The Shapiro administration announced earlier this month that the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) distributed $204 million in grants from the BIP program for 53 projects in 42 counties and connected 40,000 households and businesses to high-speed internet.

Up to 100,000 Pennsylvanians are expected to benefit from these announced broadband projects, and the federal funding will be matched dollar-for-dollar by private investments, bringing the total amount of spending to over $400 million.

“The PBDA has worked hard to ensure Pennsylvania receives the funding we need to address access and connectivity issues impacting communities across the Commonwealth – and today’s allocation of $204 million in awards is a significant step forward in getting more Pennsylvanians connected to high-speed, affordable internet,” PBDA Executive Director Brandon Carson said in a statement.

Pennsylvania received over $1.16 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to expand high-speed internet access across the commonwealth, but funding for the BIP comes from the Capital Projects Fund created by the American Rescue Plan.

According to the Shapiro administration, almost 95% of Pennsylvania’s unserved and underserved households and businesses are located in rural parts of the commonwealth. Some of the counties benefiting from this broadband expansion include: Adams, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Perry, Mercer, McKean, Schuylkill, and Somerset.

Across the Commonwealth, more than 276,000 households, businesses, schools, and libraries don’t have access to broadband,” Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Uri Monson, PBDA Board Chairman, said in a statement.

“To create more opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, we must expand access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. The broadband infrastructure awards made today are yet another step toward making that a reality while responsibly managing this funding to ultimately save Pennsylvanians money on the critical internet services they need for the best quality of life.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE

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