Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to Hold Virtual Public Comment Session on Digital Plan

Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson announced that a statewide virtual input session will be held next week for Pennsylvanians to discuss the draft Statewide Digital Equity Plan that will ensure all Pennsylvanians have the skills, technology, and capacity to fully benefit from our digital economy. The virtual session, which will be held Monday, December 18, 2023, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM, will provide insight into key plan details and give participants an opportunity to share their feedback.

Monday’s virtual session continues PBDA’s robust, statewide community engagement effort that began more than four months ago. Twenty-three in-person “Community Conversations” with residents and ten small-group sessions focused on unique internet access challenges to those specific groups has ensured an opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth to directly voice their needs and outline barriers they face to digital access. The PBDA will review and consider all of this input while finalizing the Statewide Digital Equity Plan.

“To create an equitable economy, everyone needs access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet and the skills, technology, and ability to participate fully online,” said Executive Director Carson. “It’s time to close the internet access and digital skills divide experienced by far too many of Pennsylvania’s communities and its residents, and the Commonwealth’s Digital Equity Plan outlines how we can achieve statewide digital equity.”

The Commonwealth’s draft Digital Equity Plan is available online and is open for public comment until January 8, 2024. There are several ways for Pennsylvanians to provide feedback on the plan, including:

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs for states to promote digital inclusion and equity. These funds aim to ensure that all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. Pennsylvania anticipates receiving allocation determination of the Digital Equity Capacity Building Grant Program in 2024.