Huntingdon County Commissioners today announced a meeting to engage the community in discussions about broadband use and experiences. The meeting will also provide information about the commonwealth’s work to develop an action plan to ensure equitable, affordable broadband access for all residents, businesses and communities. Those interested in participating are invited to join the meeting scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the Bricktown Event Center, West Shirley Street, Mount Union.
Huntingdon County planning director James Lettiere notes that, “The 2018 comprehensive plan for the Southern Alleghenies Region, specifically within the Huntingdon County Action Plan, notes one of the five Action Plan items is to educate, support, coordinate with state and federal agencies and assist with the facilitation of expanding broadband and cellular phone service, to unserved and underserved areas of the county. These efforts are spearheaded by the Huntingdon County Commissioners.”
This meeting is part of a larger strategic effort led by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA). Through a robust meeting series, the PBDA will connect with a diverse array of Pennsylvanians and use the public input to help develop plans to address broadband service needs in unserved and underserved communities. The plans will help ensure everyone has the skills, technology, and capacity needed to benefit from our digital economy.
“Far too many Pennsylvanians lack access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet access or face barriers to accessing the technology necessary to participate in our society and economy fully,” said PBDA executive director Brandon Carson. “We are seeking to close the digital divide, and the feedback we receive through community meetings is essential as the commonwealth develops its Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment and Digital Equity plans.”
“Far too many Pennsylvanians lack access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet access or face barriers to accessing the technology necessary to participate in our society and economy fully.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, authorized a $65 billion investment into broadband to close the digital divide. Pennsylvania is guaranteed a minimum of $100 million and is expected to receive hundreds of millions in additional funding through formula or competitive funding opportunities. The community meetings are critical to the planning process and will help inform Pennsylvania’s path forward when the commonwealth secures funding and implements the plans.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) and the upcoming community engagement activities, visit the https://dced.pa.gov/programsfunding/broadband-in-pennsylvania/pennsylvania-broadband-development-authority/.
The PBDA is responsible for creating a statewide broadband plan and distributing federal and state monies for broadband expansion projects in unserved and underserved areas of Pennsylvania. PBDA efforts focus on closing Pennsylvania’s digital divide so all Pennsylvanians can get connected to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband internet at home, at work or on the road.