Armstrong, Indiana County Projects Receive Broadband Grants

HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved more than $270,000 in grants for three projects that will improve broadband access in certain municipalities of Armstrong and Indiana counties, said Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) and Reps. Jim Struzzi (R-62), Donna Oberlander (R63) and Brian Smith (R-66). Plumcreek Township in Armstrong County, along with Smicksburg Borough and Armstrong, Washington and West Mahoning townships in Indiana County, will all see improvements to broadband access.

“Getting the fiberoptic cable run to unserved areas in Armstrong and Indiana counties will go a long way toward addressing what continues to be a digital divide for the residents of rural regions,” said Sen. Pittman. “Connecting more households and businesses to reliable high-speed internet will aid in the ongoing economic, educational and social development of our communities.”  

Windstream Services, LLC received all three Unserved High-speed Broadband Funding grants, with the largest of the three being $204,134 to install 21 miles of fiberoptic cable to bring high-speed broadband service to as many as 189 residential and 3 business properties in Indiana County’s Smicksburg Borough and West Mahoning Township. The total project cost is $776,210, with $194,052 committed by Windstream Services, LLC and $378,024 secured from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

“Once again, broadband infrastructure has proven to be every bit as critical to our rural communities and our regional economy as our utilities and transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Smith. “Moving forward, my door is always open to work together with all District 66 borough and township officials to secure this extremely competitive state funding and expand broadband access in the most rural areas of Northwestern Pennsylvania.”

A $32,885 grant awarded to Windstream will be used to install roughly 6.67 miles of fiberoptic cable to serve as many as 90 residential and 2 business properties in unserved areas in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County. The total project cost is $186,290, with $46,573 committed by Windstream and $106,832 secured from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

“Our rural communities depend upon accessible and reliable broadband for a wealth of necessary services: education, health care, business, agriculture and so much more,” Rep. Oberlander said about the grant for Plumcreek Township. “Increasing accessibility and affordability to higher broadband speeds in this portion of the 63rd District in Armstrong County will lead to enhanced and increased economic activity.”

Windstream also received a $36,840 grant to install 7.2 miles of fiberoptic cable to serve as many as 89 residential and 3 business properties in unserved areas in Indiana County’s Armstrong and Washington townships. The total project cost is $195,768, with $48,942 committed by Windstream and $109,986 secured from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

“The need for access to quality and sustainable broadband service is integral to communities in these rural portions of the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Struzzi, who represents both Armstrong and Washington townships. “Students need it to learn, the agriculture community uses it to support their livelihood and help put food on our tables, and emergency responders require it to connect with medical colleagues in sometimes life-saving situations. Broadband access has become so much more than the ability to download a movie or stream a television show. It is critical to our way of life.”

An unserved area is defined as a designated geographic area in which households or businesses do not have access to at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream speeds and 3 Mbps upstream speeds. The new infrastructure in all three locations will provide broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload and will have maximum speeds of 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 1,000 Mbps, for both download and upload.

The Unserved High-speed Broadband Funding Program was made possible by Act 132 of 2020, formerly Senate Bill 835, and is administered by the CFA. The program provides grants to deploy middle-mile and last-mile high-speed broadband infrastructure to unserved areas in Pennsylvania.

Contacts:         Jeremy Dias (Sen. Pittman)                     

                           Jennifer Algoe Keaton (Rep. Oberlander)      717.705.2094

                           Ty McCauslin (Rep. Smith)                                  717.772.9979

                           Scott Little (Rep. Struzzi)                                     717.260.6137

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