Berks partners with nonprofits to study broadband service

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Berks County is reviewing local broadband services.

At the last meeting of the year, the Commissioners approved the hiring of an independent contractor to provide broadband consulting services and conduct a network feasibility study in partnership with the Berks Alliance, United Way of Berks County. and the Wyomissing Foundation.

Lit Communities, an Alabama-based technology infrastructure builder, will provide a quantifiable assessment of broadband access and availability to residents and businesses in the county.

County officials said the results of this study will be used to apply for state and federal dollars to improve access and availability of broadband services. The study is expected to last about six months.

Nonprofits working with the county are expected to provide $ 79,000 to fund the study, while the county will contribute nearly $ 178,000 using funds it received from the American Rescue Plan.

The study follows the passage of a $ 1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill, which includes a massive investment in the country’s broadband infrastructure aimed at bridging the digital divide.

Pennsylvania will receive a minimum allocation of $ 100 million to help provide statewide broadband coverage, including providing access to at least 394,000 Pennsylvanians who currently lack it. And about 23% of Pennsylvania residents will be eligible for Connectivity Affordability, which helps low-income families afford Internet access.

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