Wolf Administration Discusses How Restore Pennsylvania Can Improve Broadband Access in Clarion County

Clarion, PA – Today, Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives Acting Executive Director Sheri Collins and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver joined local officials for a tour of broadband infrastructure in Clarion County. Collins and Weaver highlighted how Restore Pennsylvania will aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs and bring high-speed internet access to every Pennsylvanian.

“In today’s connected world, there’s no reason why so many Pennsylvanians, particularly in rural areas, should be going without high-speed internet,” Collins said. “Restore Pennsylvania is the only way that we can fund projects that will bring reliable broadband access to the residents, businesses, schools, and emergency responders in Clarion County.”

The tour began by visiting the new communications tower in St. Petersburg designed to help revamp the 911 system. While this new tower helps provide broadband access for a very specific purpose, more resources are needed to implement broadband infrastructure projects that will provide access to residents and businesses on a larger scale. According to a study by the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in partnership with Connected Nation, nearly half of residents in Clarion County lack access to robust high-speed internet. Across Pennsylvania, nearly a million residents lack access to high-speed internet. Lack of access hinders education, health care, emergency services, community development, and business attraction and retention.

“Technology touches almost every facet of life in our culture today, so having access to reliable, high-speed internet is a necessity for economic growth and educational success,” said Shannon Barrios, executive director of the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation. “However, for rural communities like Clarion County, installing the infrastructure it takes to support our technological needs can be cost prohibitive. I believe the Restore Pennsylvania initiative will help to provide the necessary resources to rural communities just like ours to ensure that everyone gets connected so our local students can excel and our local businesses can continue to thrive.”

The $4.5 billion bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal will provide funding to completely bridge the digital divide in every community in Pennsylvania. If passed into law, Restore Pennsylvania will support every phase of the process, from feasibility testing to connection, at a level far beyond any existing funding mechanisms.

Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132

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