Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (Authority) Executive Director Brandon Carson is asking Pennsylvanians to provide input on several questions related to the upcoming Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program guidelines and provide feedback by February 23, 2023. The program will provide a total of $200 million in grant funding through the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF), targeting locations that do not currently have access to 25/3 Megabits per second reliable service. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to provide feedback on the definition of affordability; award amounts; match requirements; and the challenge period. Feedback can be provided online until February 23, 2023.
“The Authority is excited to help bring high-speed internet access to Pennsylvanians,” said Executive Director Carson. “This crucial federal funding will help us close the digital divide in the Commonwealth. That’s why it’s important for Pennsylvanians to provide feedback on this new program so that our investments are as impactful as possible.”
Under the new program, eligible projects will deploy wired and/or fixed wireless high-speed broadband service infrastructure in unserved areas of the Commonwealth. Unserved areas are defined as designated geographic areas in which households or businesses do not have access to at least 25 Megabits per second download speed and 3 Megabits per second upload speed.
The program will accept applications under two categories: line extension and development; and large-scale regional infrastructure projects.
The line extension category will fund extensions of existing last-mile cable modem and fiber-to-the-premise broadband networks that can be constructed quickly. Internet service providers are eligible if they have an existing fiber-to-the premise or cable network offering service of at least 100 Megabits per second download speed and 20 Megabits per second upload speed to mass-market users that can be extended to eligible premises in the Commonwealth.
The large-scale regional project category is designed for projects that can transform broadband availability across a significant portion of the Commonwealth by serving large numbers of eligible addresses.
Applicants may be private for-profit or non-profit corporations, cooperatives, local units of government, or regional consortia of local governments.
Upon completion, eligible projects must, at minimum: deliver service that reliably meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 Megabits per second; and ensure affordability by participating in a federal program that provides low-cost options to consumers and/or establish a low-cost option for consumers that meets CPF guidance.
The Authority is charged with creating a statewide broadband plan and distributing federal and state monies for broadband expansion projects in unserved and underserved areas of the commonwealth.