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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Announces $6.6M in Broadband, Skills Funding

The state has received a downpayment of $6.6 million from the federal government to expand broadband services and skills training for the increasingly digital workforce, the governor announced Thursday.

Pennsylvania Capitol
Pennsylvania Capitol
Shutterstock/Jon Bilous
(TNS) — Pennsylvania has received a downpayment of $6.6 million from the federal government to expand broadband services and help ensure that residents have the skills necessary to compete in a digital world.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the grant in Harrisburg on Thursday. The funds, which will be distributed through the Pennsylvania Broadband Authority, were part of the $65 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress last year.

As many as 800,000 Pennsylvanians are without Internet access, according to the state. County agencies throughout the state have been busy mapping broadband dark spots in their areas, information that will be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission.

Updated FCC maps will be used to determine where Internet infrastructure needs are greatest and therefore where future funding will be targeted.

"Families living without broadband face significant barriers in educational opportunities, employment opportunities and access to basic needs such as health care through telemedicine," said Rob Postupac, superintendent of the Western Beaver County School District and Blackhawk School District in a prepared statement. "For too long now, those in our rural communities have had to live in digital darkness."

Broadband funding is being distributed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Pennsylvania was among 11 states and the District of Columbia to receive funding on Thursday for Internet infrastructure and planning. States also received smaller grants through the $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act, which was passed last year to ensure broadband equity and inclusion.

©2022 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.