HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell said today that Pennsylvania will receive $2.25 million in federal Recovery Act funds to help boost broadband Internet coverage across the state.
The funds will aid the state's efforts to identify areas and organizations that lack broadband service, develop strategies to extend coverage, and promote collaboration.
"Broadband connections are a key to being competitive in today's fast-paced economy," Governor Rendell said. "Pennsylvania already has made important strides. Our broadband mapping inventory, begun in 2004, was one of the first such enactments in the nation. This infusion of federal funds will reinforce our efforts to bridge the digital divide.
"Expanding reliable, affordable high-speed connectivity will preserve and create jobs, help those impacted by the recession, spur advances in science and health, and provide long-term benefits in rural and urban communities," the Governor said.
Funds will be used by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor's Office for Information Technology in the Office of Administration to collect broadband coverage data, develop a map of the state's broadband infrastructure, plan strategies to address gaps, and identify barriers to adopting and implementing the commonwealth's statewide broadband plan.
Pennsylvania will seek a vendor to help with data collection, validation and mapping efforts.
"High-speed Internet access is critical for our businesses to compete in global markets," Governor Rendell said. "It is as crucial to competitiveness as are skilled workers, transportation, water and energy. These federal dollars offer an unprecedented opportunity for Pennsylvania to extend the strides we've already made in making broadband more widely available."
The grant was awarded to the commonwealth by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's State Broadband Data and Development Program. Pennsylvania has pledged to match 20 percent of the $2.25 million to achieve project outcomes.
Data from states receiving federal funds will be compiled to develop a national broadband map that will be available to the public and searchable. It will display broadband coverage, available speeds and type of technology used, and broadband availability at anchor institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges and universities and other public buildings.
The statewide broadband plan is available at www.recovery.pa.gov, click on "Opportunities" and "Broadband (Hi-Speed Data Transfer) Opportunities."
Information on Pennsylvania's broadband deployment efforts is available at www.broadbandinpa.com.
Information about how Recovery Act funds are benefiting Pennsylvania is available at www.recovery.pa.gov.
Steven Weitzman, DCED; 717-783-1132
Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor