Politics · June 2, 2021

Pennsylvania: $5 Million in Funding for Broadband Projects

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians: $5 Million in Funding Now Available for Broadband Projects

HarrisburgPA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf  reminded nongovernmental entities to apply for funding for projects that facilitate the deployment of high-speed broadband service infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the commonwealth through the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program (UHSB).

“Since taking office, one of my biggest priorities has been to build out the infrastructure needed to connect all Pennsylvanians to high-speed broadband internet,” said Gov. Wolf.  “I encourage all eligible applicants to submit an application for funding today.”

The application window opened yesterday, June 1 and applications will be accepted until September 24.

The UHSB authorizes the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to award grants to nongovernmental entities which have the technical, managerial, and financial expertise to design, build, and operate a high-speed broadband service infrastructure within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of deploying high-speed broadband services infrastructure in unserved areas of the state.

UHSB funding supports projects that can offer access to high-speed broadband services that will enhance economic development, education, health care, and emergency services.  The program will further expand broadband access for Pennsylvanians through new private sector investments.

The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages.  The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth.  Unique among state agencies in structure and scope, the CFA consists of seven Board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget, and Department of Banking and Securities.

Nearly a million Pennsylvanians lack access to broadband internet connectivity.  Governor Wolf has made access to reliable, high-speed internet a priority throughout his administration.  The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for broadband access for families working and learning from home, for businesses operating online services, for patients relying on telehealth, and more.  Now, as the nation moves toward recovery from the pandemic, the governor has praised President Joe Biden’s comprehensive American Jobs Plan, which prioritizes improving our infrastructure, including expanding broadband internet access.  Further, the governor has repeatedly called on Congress to prioritize critical infrastructure needs, including broadband access.