HARRISBURG – Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Mercer) announced the Commonwealth is getting more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband access to underserved areas. The funding is coming through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (authority) will administer the funding.
“Far too much of Pennsylvania is still in the dark when it comes to broadband access,” Wentling said. “Many facets of today’s life require a strong internet connection, including jobs in all kinds of industries. This money can offer that much-needed high-speed internet connection to the more rural parts of Pennsylvania, helping them get connected without needing to drive to the nearest library to get a strong signal.”
The authority has been working with Penn State Extension to identify more than 50,000 locations in Pennsylvania that lack access to high-speed internet but weren't included in the federal government's initial survey. So far, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld more than 28,000 of those challenges, making those locations eligible for federal BEAD funding and helping ensure Pennsylvania received its share of the BEAD funding.
The authority is now working to complete a five-year action plan for Pennsylvania’s BEAD allocation, which must be submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by Aug. 12. Pennsylvania will receive the BEAD funding in 2024 following the NTIA’s approval of the plan. The authority plans to award subgrants to approved applicants before the end of 2024.
You can check broadband availability in your area on the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website. Just select the “map layers” option and choose “broadband” on the Broadband Service Map here
Representative Parke Wentling
7th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jake Gillespie