NW Pennsylvania Broadband Initiative: A Plan to Connect Residents, Schools, Businesses

Meadville, PA. (January 24, 2018) – After six months of research, the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, working in partnership with Connected Nation, has completed an in-depth assessment of the region’s current broadband environment and developed a Technology Action Plan to address its future needs. This plan identifies key projects and actions that can be taken to improve broadband (high-speed internet) access and use by local residents, businesses, libraries, schools, and other organizations. The study findings and Plan were shared with various regional and county stakeholders at a meeting in Meadville today.

“Comprehensive broadband connectivity is as vital to our region’s economic success as roads and infrastructure were fifty years ago,” Jill Foys, Executive Director of the Northwest Commission, said. “This study provides the Northwest Pennsylvania region with an understanding of our communications assets as well as its gaps. As an area with an abundance of natural resources and activities that attract young people and families, we need the technological infrastructure to allow them to work where they play.”

The Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Broadband Committee kicked off the first-ever Connected Community Engagement in the state of Pennsylvania in June 2017. The committee chose to focus on the entire 8-county region of Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, and Warren Counties.

The ConnectedSM program provided a structure and approach to assess the current state of the broadband environment throughout the region. Businesses, residents, schools, libraries, and key stakeholders from other sectors were surveyed to more accurately identify where there are gaps in coverage and what can be done to make broadband more available and improve internet access for everyone.

The study identified the challenges and opportunities for broadband expansion in the region and what actions can be taken to encourage this expansion. Those include, but are not limited to:

  • Establish a Local Team Tasked With the Responsibility of Implementing the Recommendations of This Plan
  • Perform a Broadband Build-Out Analysis and Validate Demand for Broadband Service in Underserved Areas
  • Develop Public-Private Partnerships to Deploy Broadband Service
  • Promote Low-Cost Broadband Service Offerings for Vulnerable Populations
  • Complete a Vertical Assets Inventory to Assist in Deploying Wireless Broadband

“We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” said Dan Manning, Connected Nation’s Community Technology Advisor for this project. “To leave a family or business out of the digital world means excluding them from opportunities for better education, access to healthcare, increased job prospects, and being able to participate in the global economy—which can affect everything from buying more affordable goods and services to growing their own local businesses.”

To review the full Technology Action Plan report, head to http://connectmycommunity.org/northwest-pennsylvania/.

Connected Nation Contact: Dan Manning
Role: Community Technology Advisor
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 810-844-3760

Local Contact: Meghan Keely, Economic Development Manager
NW Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 814-677-4800 x112

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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans. The Connected Community Engagement is a locally driven effort to live out Connected Nation’s mission to bring access to all families so no one is left on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.

For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org/ and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

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