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$600K broadband grant awarded

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced a grant of $600,000 to North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Ridgway for the Pennsylvania LDDAP Statewide Broadband Initiative.

The project, in partnership with Pennsylvania’s other six local development districts in the Appalachian Region, including Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, will help communities assess strategies and associated costs for deploying broadband in unserved areas. It also will facilitate broadband deployment activities, including the installation of fixed wireless broadband equipment and the partnership with existing internet providers to expand broadband service into target areas.

The project will serve 425 businesses, 1,700 households and 13 communities. Additional funding is being provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“This award demonstrates ARC’s continued commitment to invest in rural areas that lack adequate broadband access. We’re excited to get started on the project, and we’ll continue working with ARC and our other funding partners to address the Digital Divide that exists in our communities,” Brandon Carson, SAP&DC director of planning and community development said in a statement.

The announcement by ARC is one of 51 investments totaling $43.3 million via ARC’s POWER Initiative, a congressionally funded opportunity targeting federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. More than half of these investments will support recovery-to-work efforts or strengthen the region’s broadband infrastructure. Pennsylvania received the most awards, with 11 implementation awards, two broadband awards and two technical assistance awards. The projects range from focus on energy innovation, broadband investments, tourism, substance use disorder, behavioral health and workforce academies.

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