State working on engaging public in broadband effort
State officials are developing plans for how they intend to solicit public feedback regarding projects related to broadband expansion and digital equity issues.
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority has been tasked with developing two plans — the state’s Digital Equity Plan as well as the state’s BEAD, or Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment, plan.
The BEAD program is highlighted by over $40 billion in federal money earmarked for the expansion of broadband to unserved and underserved areas.
But to get there, the Authority has to come up with a way to engage the public.
A “State Digital Equity Stakeholder Engagement Plan” might not seem like everyone’s definition of riveting reading but it’s relevant to Warren County because “individuals living in rural areas” is one of the “primary populations” identified for engagement as part of this entire process.
“The Authority understands that different users have different needs, barriers, and preferences for engagement,” state Broadband Authority Executive Director Brenadon Carson said. “Feedback on our stakeholder engagement strategy and developing partnerships with communities, organizations, and individuals who are already doing this work is essential to our success.”
According to the authority, the engagement during this effort will take the form of roundabout discussions, community surveys, in-person community conversations and “measurable outcomes.”
“The Authority,” according to a statement, “is charged with creating a statewide broadband plan and distributing federal and state monies for broadband expansion projects in unserved and underserved areas of the Commonwealth.”
The public comment period is open through Friday, March 10 and a virtual meeting will be held on March at 6 p.m. for the Authority to discuss updates to the plan based on feedback received.