Bedford approves broadband study

BEDFORD — A study to expand broadband across eight counties was approved Tuesday by the Bedford County commissioners.

The Southern Alle­ghenies Planning & Development Commission will apply for $50,000 in grant funding, with matching funds of $6,250 from Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Hunting­don, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

Donald Schwartz, planning commission director, said organizers are also looking for another $100,000 in funding for a total project cost of $200,000.

The broadband study will help counties to understand their vertical and fiber assets and to develop a business plan model, Commissioner Josh Lang said at the meeting.

Commissioner Paul Crooks noted the counties are looking for broadband that is way faster than digital subscriber lines.

Expanding broadband is a way to help boost economic development and bring prosperity to rural areas, Commissioner Barry Dallara added.

“Part of the intent of this process is to identify what already exists so we don’t have to duplicate that,” Dallara said. “The second thing I would tell you is … what’s going to help rural counties really move forward and not be as far behind as their urban and suburban areas is the broadband econ activity we need to achieve.”

An agreement between Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties to develop a solid waste management plan and practice was also approved by the commissioners.

A solid waste plan addressing the disposal and recycling of waste is good for 10 years. The last plan was done in 2010, according to Schwartz. He said he is looking for people to serve on a solid waste advisory board, which would start in June or July.

The commissioners also recognized Southern Cove Historical Group as the 2019 Historian of the Year at the meeting, declaring April 27 as Southern Cove Historical Group Day in Bedford County.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.

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