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Press Release: Shapiro Administration Secures $20 Million in New Federal Funding to Promote Digital Equity and Inclusion for Pennsylvanians

The Shapiro Administration is working to ensure every Pennsylvanian can access reliable, affordable, high-speed internet, leading to better health, education, and economic outcomes.

Pennsylvania’s final disbursement of American Rescue Plan Capital Project Funding will help fulfill the Commonwealth’s Digital Equity Plan to provide “Internet for All.”

Harrisburg, PA

In another stride toward achieving President Joe Biden and Governor Josh Shapiro’s goal of providing high-speed, affordable “Internet for All”, the Shapiro Administration today announced that Pennsylvania has secured $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.

The American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Funding will enable the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) to purchase and distribute the devices, a key component of its digital connectivity program.

“When communities don’t have reliable broadband access, they often rely on anchor institutions like libraries, schools, and community centers to provide it,” said Brandon Carson, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.

“With that comes a need for updated resources, including quality devices. With this investment the Commonwealth will launch a new program to help ensure children and adults alike have the technology they need to learn remotely, access telemedicine, and fully participate in our digital economy.”

Pennsylvania’s digital connectivity program is being developed with input from community stakeholders, and the Commonwealth is in the process of developing a streamlined approach to purchase and distribute the devices to community partners like small libraries and municipalities.” PBDA anticipates opening the program later in 2024.

Across Pennsylvania more than 276,000 households, businesses, schools, and libraries don’t have access to broadband. Through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program 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.

“When communities don’t have reliable broadband access, they often rely on anchor institutions like libraries, schools, and community centers to provide it.”

In addition to the BEAD funding, the Commonwealth also received $200 million in funding through the Capital Projects Fund Broadband Infrastructure Program to connect unserved/underserved areas and $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.

Thanks to these significant investments, the Shapiro Administration now has the resources it needs 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.

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

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