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

Honesdale, PA – Today, Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives Acting Executive Director Sheri Collins and Department of Agriculture regional director Mark Critz joined Wayne County economic development leaders, business owners, and farmers to discuss the region’s challenges with broadband access and how the bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal will help municipalities close the digital divide.

“Every time I visit a rural community, I hear new ways that lack of broadband access is holding them back,” Collins said. “It’s past time that we take action to make sure our rural businesses, farmers, schools, and residents are connected to reliable high-speed internet. Restore Pennsylvania is the only way we can provide the funding necessary to expand broadband access to every Pennsylvanian.”

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 Wayne 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.

“Families and businesses in areas of Wayne County that lack high-speed broadband are desperate for a solution, including our farming community in northern Wayne,” said Mary Beth Wood, executive director of the Wayne Economic Development Corporation. “They are asking for our help. The studies have been done; the need has been demonstrated. We are at the point where a significant amount of funding must be applied to the problem in order to prevent rural communities without broadband technology from falling further behind in all aspects of life.”

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 with Restore Pennsylvania.

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.

Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132

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