Wolf Administration Visits Potter County to Discuss How Restore Pennsylvania Will Expand Rural Broadband Access

Coudersport, PA – Today, Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives Acting Executive Director Sheri Collins was joined by members of the Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative to visit business owners in Potter County. Collins discussed with the business owners how lack of broadband access negatively affects the region and how the Restore Pennsylvania proposal can expand access and close the digital divide in the commonwealth.

“As I travel to rural areas in every corner of the commonwealth, it becomes more and more apparent how desperately broadband internet access is needed in these regions,” Collins said. “From a business perspective, companies in rural areas are having trouble recruiting, marketing themselves, and even completing day-to-day operations without reliable high-speed internet, which hurts their ability to grow. That needs to change – and that’s why Restore Pennsylvania is so critical for these areas.”

Restore Pennsylvania, the $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal funded through a commonsense severance tax will provide funding to completely bridge the digital divide in every community in Pennsylvania. Funding will be available to support installation of infrastructure to bring high speed internet to every corner of the commonwealth.

Nearly a million Pennsylvanians today lack access to robust, reliable, high-speed internet. The problem disproportionately affects rural areas like Potter County. According to a report published earlier this month from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, internet connectivity speeds are substantially slower in rural counties than in urban ones. Due to the cost of broadband infrastructure, local municipalities cannot fund the purchase and installation of that infrastructure themselves. 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.

“We expect the availability of broadband internet service to spur economic development in our region, creating opportunities in areas such as telemedicine, education, teleworking and opening doors for future business ventures,” said Craig Eccher, president and CEO of Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative. “Restore Pennsylvania will ensure the construction of desperately-needed rural broadband infrastructure continues to be built across the commonwealth.”

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.

Learn more about what critical infrastructure could be fixed in your community by visiting the Restore Pennsylvania website.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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Casey Smith, DCED, 717.783.1132

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