What good is a wildflower reserve without WiFi?
Visitors to Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve in Upper Makefield will find botany galore but few bars on their smartphones. With Internet speeds of 25 MB (megabytes per second) or less, you can’t even stream Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips,” according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Bowmans is one of 10 Bucks County Internet Dead Zones identified by the FCC with Internet speeds below 25 MB per second.
The FCC considers 25 MB to be the slowest speed considered broadband, allowing multiple streams of data to be sent simultaneously over multiple frequencies. With 25 MB, about three people could be online at the same time, sending emails or text messages over a network. You’d need about 50MB to connect to a Zoom call, stream a non-high-definition video, connect a doorbell security camera, or stream music.
Access to high-speed internet has become a necessity for many during the pandemic, as millions of employees have switched to working from home and schools have started virtual classes.
Verizon is now under contract to the FCC to eliminate all of Bucks County’s Internet dead zones, and the company said Friday it plans to address them all by 2025.
The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed in 2021, has allocated $65 billion to improve Internet service nationwide. The $1.6 million contract with Verizon PA requires the company to improve coverage at 669 locations across Pennsylvania, including 10 in Bucks County.
Here’s a look at the Bucks venues with some of the worst internet coverage, according to the FCC.
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Who has the worst internet service in Bucks County?
Maple Beach in the Common of Bristol
Along the Delaware River near the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, Maple Beach was once considered an ideal location for an automobile racetrack, an ethanol plant, and even a football stadium. Yet it remains a barren landscape, save for three waterfront homes where Internet speeds are as changeable as the river’s tides, according to the FCC.
The homes on Beachway Road are so off the grid, you can’t get there without ignoring a dozen signs that say “No Trespassing.” The DOW Chemical Company owns much of the beachfront property and doesn’t want anyone roaming the grounds except the three families who call it home.
Lakefront in Bristol Township
Just north of the Levittown Mall, police frequently patrol Route 13 for drivers who greatly exceed the posted speed limit. Ironically, the area is also known for having some of the slowest internet service in Bucks County, according to the FCC.
According to the government, the affected dead zone area extends over parts of the Lakeside section of Levittown and the Pennbrook Village Flats. Internet speeds drop well below 25MB per second, according to the FCC.
Eddington to Bensalem
A stone’s throw from Neshaminy State Park, Bensalem is home to a huge industrial park that badly needs better internet coverage, according to the FCC. Bensalem Industrial Park is home to laboratories, plumbing and plastics manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.
Truck traffic here is constant. The internet is sporadic.
Woodbourne to Middletown
Just north of the Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown, two of the nation’s busiest highways converge in an area that’s also an Internet dead zone, according to the FCC. The interchange on Route 1 and Route 295 has speeds under 25MB.
According to the government, the weak coverage area is also impacting hotel and office complexes just outside the shopping centre, as well as a ring of detached houses located off Woodbourne Road.
Warminster Heights in Warminster
The latest Internet dead zone identified in Lower Bucks County is located near the intersection of County Line and Shoemaker roads in Upper Southampton.
That dead zone extends over the Huntingdon Valley Marketplace shopping mall, the retirement community of Southampton Estates and Frank J. Pileggi Park, all places where it’s difficult to connect, according to the FCC.
Rushland in Wrighttown
The federal government’s plan to give everyone access to high-speed internet will result in high-speed internet coverage in some of the most remote locations, including a stone quarry.
Rushland’s internet dead zone includes the Inkling Bookstore and Art Gallery, the Davis Feed Mill, the Eureka Stone Quarry, and a handful of single-family homes.
Sweetbriar at Buckingham
The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will also bring high-speed internet to farmers and ranchers along Sweetbriar Road in Buckingham. The identified area includes two equestrian centers and AGA Farms, known for its Christmas trees and pumpkin patch.
Stump Road in Solebury
Finally, high speed internet is also provided for the patchwork of farmhouses along Stump Road in Solebury. The area includes Cabin and Sirius Equestrian Centres, Red Rox Farms and Hunter Hill near the junction of Wismer and Stump Roads.
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