Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission investigation seeks to help expand broadband internet access

Murrysville officials plan to use part of the city’s $ 1.9 million US bailout to expand broadband internet access.

“I think it’s vital,” Murrysville chief administrator Jim Morrison told Murrysville council members this week. He encouraged residents to respond to a survey conducted by the Connected Initiative of the nonprofit Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to learn more about broadband access in the six counties served by the commission.

“This will be the forerunner in identifying programs that can leverage US bailout funds to expand broadband service to this region,” Morrison said.

Murrysville earlier this month hired a consultant to help determine the best way to use ARP funding.

Expanding broadband access has been on the minds of many groups statewide.

This summer, the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units and Penn State Extension conducted a survey to determine student home Internet access. Its goal was to help school districts identify pockets without internet access and have internet-related data available for grant applications, including for the $ 7.1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund launched by the Federal Communications Commission in May.

Funded with ARP dollars, it aims to “enable schools and libraries to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, and high-speed connectivity for students, school staff and users of schools. libraries in need during the covid-19 pandemic, ”according to an FCC release.

Morrison said he hopes all residents respond to the new survey.

“In a community like Murrysville, we have homes that demand not only a lot of broadband, but also people who work from home and need high-speed internet as an alternative to commuting in Pittsburgh,” he said. .

The Connected Initiative, which includes partners Allies for Children and Carnegie Mellon University, aims to help create a roadmap for expanding high-speed internet access by collecting and prioritizing a kind of pipeline of projects and connectivity initiatives to ensure the necessary funding to achieve them.

TO participate in the survey, visit SPCré and click on the “Take the online survey” link in the “SWPA Connected” box.

Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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