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The investment will bring high-speed internet to over 100,000 Pennsylvanians in 42 counties across the Commonwealth that currently have no service or struggle with poor service.

The Shapiro Administration is working hard to ensure every Pennsylvanian can access reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to grow our economy, allow more kids to learn and thrive in school, and create better health outcomes for families. 

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson announced that the PBDA has approved $204 million in Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) grant awards to 53 projects in 42 counties across Pennsylvania that will connect 40,000 homes and businesses, bringing high-speed internet to over 100,000 Pennsylvanians. The grants, awarded to businesses and non-profits, will be matched by more than $200 million in private investment. The combined investment of more than $400 million will expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

“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,” said PBDA Executive Director Brandon Carson. “As Pennsylvanians increasingly rely on broadband to live healthy and productive lives, expanding access to the internet is essential to creating opportunity for folks all across our Commonwealth. These projects will leverage historic federal funding and private investment to connect communities to the internet – and the PBDA will continue working to make this a reality for even more Pennsylvanians.” 

Project applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria, including the size and scope of the unserved or underserved Pennsylvania community where the project will be deployed, the experience and ability of the applicant to successfully deploy high-speed broadband service, affordability standards that include a low-cost option, criteria to support Pennsylvania’s workforce, a plan to ensure high adoption rates in proposed areas upon the project’s completion, and more. 

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

Funded through the federal Capital Projects Fund, the BIP awards grants for line extension and development projects, as well as large-scale regional infrastructure projects. Upon completion, projects must deliver service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 Megabits per second, with prioritization given to fiber-optic deployment. 

Projects are also required to include a viable sustainability strategy to maintain, repair, and upgrade existing networks to ensure their continued operation. Currently, 95 percent of the unserved and underserved households and businesses in Pennsylvania are in rural areas. Among the 42 Pennsylvania counties and more than 40,000 homes and businesses that will be served by these projects, rural areas in Adams, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Perry, Mercer, McKean, Schuylkill, and Somerset will benefit from increased access and connectivity. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet so Pennsylvanians can better compete in the 21st century,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “High-speed internet is key to enabling Americans to succeed at work and in school as well as access health care, and these new investments advance our progress.”

“Too many Pennsylvanians don’t have the high-speed internet they need to do their homework, support their small business, or stay connected with loved ones. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’re changing that,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey. “This funding will help close the digital divide in Pennsylvania communities that need it most, rural and urban areas alike.”

Businesses, local governments, co-ops, and non-profits will now have an opportunity to apply for grants through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD)Program, part of President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative. 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 application period will open later in 2024.

Initial determinations for funding eligibility under the BEAD program are based on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map. As outlined under the program, stakeholders in Pennsylvania are being provided an opportunity to participate in the process of challenging the eligibility of locations for BEAD funding. The BEAD Challenge Process allows stakeholders to dispute the data sourced from the National Broadband Map by using relevant and allowable evidence, including local data. Information on the challenge process is available in the BEAD section of the PBDA’s website. 

The timeline for projects awarded funding today to be completed is December 31, 2026 – and the PBDA will work closely with internet service providers and other awardees to ensure their projects are completed as expeditiously as possible so that Pennsylvania communities receive the access they need in a timely manner. 

Today’s approval of 53 projects is the latest effort from the PBDA 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. Under the Shapiro Administration, the PBDA has also: 

  • Secured $45 million through the Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Program for community projects to construct, acquire, or improve facilities that are open to the public and will directly enable work, education, and health monitoring. 
  • Announced in March 2024 that Pennsylvania secured a $20 million federal investment to provide technology devices such as laptops for distribution to schools, libraries, municipalities, workforce training organizations, and other non-profits who can make them available to individuals that lack the technology needed to access the internet through American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Funding. 
  • Governor Shapiro and Executive Director Carson announced in June 2023 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 BEAD Program and is part of President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative.
  • Approved a comprehensive five-year action plan to expand access across the Commonwealth in August 2023.

A complete listing of Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) grant awards approved today can be found online.

Visit the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s website to learn more about its work to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on FacebookX, and LinkedIn.

Penny Ickes,

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