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Penn State’s mapping project could help PA get millions in federal broadband funding

[Published at WTAJ-TV on June 21, 2023]

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — A broadband service-availability mapping project by Penn State Extension could help secure tens of millions of dollars in federal funding for Pennsylvania.

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, program leader James Ladlee said their emerging and advanced technology initiative is identifying more than 50,000 Pennsylvania locations that were incorrectly reported as already having high-speed internet access.

He added determining availability is crucial in calculating the state’s portion of over $42 billion available through the Federal Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program.

Ladlee noted that Penn State Extension previously worked in partnership with the state Public Utility Commission on mapping tools that helped the state obtain almost $369 million in broadband funding under a different federal program, which is expected to enable up to 327,000 Pennsylvanians to gain high-speed internet access.

e said improving the state’s broadband map is an ongoing effort that will help ensure accurate and equitable distribution of resources in the future.

“While the map we developed for the authority will never be done, it’s an excellent start to help Pennsylvania identify areas for further review through the upcoming state challenge process, which is required after the federal funding is awarded,” Ladlee said.

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