Have Opinions About Your High-Speed Internet (or Lack Thereof)? Pennsylvania Wants to Hear From You.

FILE - A home router and internet switch are displayed on June 19, 2018, in East Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

By Ashley Adams

July 18, 2023

The state is holding a series of meetings across the commonwealth to get residents’ input on broadband access and reliability.

If you’re in rural Pennsylvania, you know the struggle with Wi-Fi: You can get service in your living room, but not the bedroom. If the neighbor’s cow farts in the wrong direction, the gust of wind could knock out your service completely.

While the state works towards bringing reliable, high-speed internet to every corner of the commonwealth, your input is needed.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) is holding a series of meetings and events across the state to get input from residents, community organizations, and municipalities about broadband use and experiences. PBDA will also provide information about its work to develop a plan to expand broadband in Pennsylvania.

The “Community Conversations” started in June and are currently scheduled to run through the end of the month. Here are the upcoming meetings:

  • July 20 at 10 a.m. in McKean County
  • July 20 at 10 a.m. in Berks County (for senior citizens)
  • July 20 at 2 p.m. in Berks County (for parents of children grades K-6)
  • July 21 at 10 a.m. in Carbon County
  • July 21 at 1 p.m. in Carbon County
  • July 31 at 5:30 p.m. in Venango County

Specific event details are still being finalized and new events could be added. To register for an event or to check if new ones have been added, visit the PA Department of Community and Economic Development website.

In addition, the state is asking residents to participate in a survey to provide “critical information that will help the commonwealth qualify for over $1 billion in federal funding.” Click here to take the survey.

According to a recent FCC report, about 640,000 to 800,000 (5%) of Pennsylvanians are “unserved” and lack access to high-speed broadband — what most service providers refer to as high-speed internet. Many of these residents reside in more rural parts of the state.

In 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law which provided the state with $100 million to help increase broadband coverage. In addition, 917,000 (23%) Pennsylvanians were eligible for $14.2 billion in Affordability Connectivity Benefits, which helps low-income families afford internet access. 

In April, Democratic US Sen. Bob Casey announced that the commonwealth was getting $200 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund broadband line extension and development projects, as well as large-scale regional infrastructure projects through the Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program.

The Biden administration wants to deliver high speed internet to all Americans by 2030.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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