WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) have awarded $32,301,619 in federal funds to two organizations to develop broadband infrastructure and increase outreach in Pennsylvania. The funding is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
“The federal funding that has been awarded to develop broadband infrastructure and increase outreach across Pennsylvania is yet another way the Recovery Act is positively impacting the Commonwealth,” said Senator Casey. “These projects will both create jobs and help individuals in communities with limited internet capabilities access the information many of us take for granted.”
“Access to the internet is critical in today’s world and these investments will help bridge the digital divide so that all Pennsylvanians can be connected to a solid communications infrastructure,” Senator Specter said. “This funding is great news for Pennsylvania as it will create jobs, spur investments in technology, and provide long-term economic benefits to the region.”
The funding is part of over $1 billion announced today by USDA and DOC for broadband projects across the country. The aim of the funding is to expand broadband infrastructure and bring jobs and economic opportunity to communities.
The Windstream Corporation is receiving $20,497,604 from the USDA, matched by approximately $6.8 million in private contribution. The funding will allow Windstream Corporation to offer broadband to a large number of communities in Pennsylvania. Approximately 79,210 people stand to benefit, as do roughly 1,793 businesses and 105 community institutions. This project will create an estimated 345 jobs.
The Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition is receiving $11,804,015 from the DOC, with an additional $5.6 million in matching contributions, to address the lag in broadband adoption in urban Philadelphia. The project will conduct strategic outreach, access and training programs for residents with no or limited at-home access, focusing in particular on the most economically and socially vulnerable populations.
Senator Casey sent letters of support for both organizations’ grant applications earlier this year.