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Utility commission OKs broadband service deployments in rural Pennsylvania

municipal broadband
Fiberglass network under construction (iStock)

Utility commission OKs broadband service deployments in rural Pennsylvania

September 07, 05:00 PM September 07, 05:00 PM

Over the next 10 years, about $368.7 million is scheduled be spent bringing high speed internet to homes and businesses in Pennsylvania that are underserved or do not have broadband access that meets current federal standards.

The project is intended reach an estimated 327,000 residents at 184,505 locations over 65 counties in the Commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission recently approved petitions for four additional telecommunications service providers to have status as Eligible Telecommunications Carriers, enabling the companies to receive funding.

The four providers are Starlink Services, Youngsville Television Corporation, Connect Everyone LLC and a group of providers known collectively the PA Frontier Companies.

“Under federal law, Pennsylvania companies must obtain an ETC designation from the PUC before receiving federal universal service fund support to build voice and broadband networks and provide related services in high-cost areas of the Commonwealth,” the PUC said in a news release.

Federal high-cost support funding is being awarded through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase 1 Auction to 13 bidders approved as Eligible Telecommunications Carriers.

An analysis released by the Biden administration in the spring stated that about 14% of Pennsylvania households do not have an internet subscription.

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