The first-ever Connectedsm community engagement in the state of Pennsylvania launched June 5. Connected Nation has teamed up with The Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission with plans to improve the area’s broadband environment, through Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program. This particular project includes eight counties and is the largest Connected Nation community involvement.
Connected Nation’s Community Technology Advisor for the project, Dan Manning, and Jill Foys, Executive Director of the Northwest Pennsylvania Commission, were interviewed on the topic of the region’s broadband expansion for a local news segment called The Morning Drill. Manning joined via Skype, in part to demonstrate the value of being connected through broadband. Deb Eckelberger from Titusville Community Development Agencies was also in the studio.
In northwestern Pennsylvania surveys are being filled out by residents, businesses, and organizations that will help determine internet access, adoption, and use across the region. Connection Nation has assessed the current landscape, and, along with local team members, will decide where the need for broadband exists.
“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 leaving them out of opportunities for better education, healthcare, and job prospects and being able to participate in the global economy.”
In the future, the plan is to receive non-private sector funds to fill in these broadband gaps in northwest Pennsylvania. First, the statistics and data must be provided in order to show funding sources what is needed and how it’s needed. Jill Foys plans to tap into funding sources from the Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Department of Agriculture.