Last week, Governor Shapiro announced that Pennsylvania will receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband across the Commonwealth to ensure every Pennsylvanian has access to affordable high-speed Internet. accessible.
Beaver Falls, PA Today, during a visit to the Carnegie Free Library in Beaver Falls, Governor Josh Shapiro,Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA). Brandon Carson, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) discussed the administration’s plans to use more than $1.16 billion in federal funds the Commonwealth will receive to expand broadband and ensure that every Pennsylvania citizen can access the Internet. The funding is through funding from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and is part of President Biden’s Internet for All initiative.
Last week, Governor Shapiro announced that the Commonwealth will receive funding to extend broadband infrastructure to communities that currently lack reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access to connect Pennsylvanians and ensure that can go to school, start and grow businesses, and access telehealth wherever they live.
“When Pennsylvanians are connected to reliable broadband, they have better health outcomes, better educational outcomes, and better economic outcomes,” he said Governor Shapiro. That’s why we need to invest in broadband, right now, to grow our economy and strengthen our communities. Affordable, reliable and affordable broadband is important to every community and every household in this Commonwealth, regardless of postcode. My administration will continue to work with all of our partners at the local, state and federal levels to ensure we can deliver real opportunity to every student, business, worker and community in Pennsylvania.”
The $1.16 billion 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 roadmap that will bring broadband into every community of Pennsylvania.
It’s truly about supporting the people of Pennsylvania and ensuring they have the resources to live thriving and healthy lives. Everyone should have access to affordable high-speed internet, and the PBDA is committed to making that a reality, he said Brandon Carson, executive director of the PBDA. Our team has worked hard to ensure Pennsylvania receives this historic level of federal funding, and with this support from the Biden administration and under the leadership of Governor Shapiro, we look forward to connecting communities across the globe. Commonwealth.
The PBDA worked with Penn State Extension to identify more than 50,000 locations in Pennsylvania that lack high-speed Internet access but weren’t included in the federal government’s initial map. The Federal Communications Commission accepted 32,000 of those submitted, making those locations eligible for federal BEAD funding and helping ensure Pennsylvania received its share of BEAD funding.
The PBDA is now working to complete a five-year Commonwealth BEAD allocation action plan, which must be submitted to the NTIA by August 12, 2023. Pennsylvania will receive BEAD funding in 2024 following the plan’s approval by the of the NTIA. The Authority plans to begin awarding sub-grant grants to approved eligible applicants in 2024.
“Today we are marking a once-in-a-lifetime moment, a moment when our generation can stand up and bring opportunity, equity and access to all, a moment when we can bridge the gap and expand infrastructure to every corner of this country,” said Barbara Cottam, Senior Advisor for External Affairs at the NTIA. “We all know that today the Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Governor Shapiro understands this and has made providing reliable and affordable high-speed Internet a priority of his administration. Importantly, he understands the jobs that come with the creation of the internet and has already begun providing funding for registered apprenticeship programs to train the workforce. Pennsylvania is thinking ahead.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to participate in community engagement events taking place in the Commonwealth throughout the summer. Feedback will be gathered from these events, as well as an online survey, and will be used to help shape broadband programs, including BEAD’s five-year action plan.
To date, Pennsylvania has received more than $1.5 billion in federal grant awards for its broadband efforts. In addition to 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 website to find out more about its work to bridge the digital divide in the Commonwealth.
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