Released: November 29, 2021
Delaware County is seeking to collect additional data regarding residents’ broadband internet access by interviewing residents and business owners. The county created a survey to identify residential and commercial locations that do not have broadband internet access or have limited access to identify places where broadband infrastructure does not exist or locations that do not meet the minimum speed suggested by the FCC for proper service.
14% of Pennsylvania households do not have an Internet subscription and 3.1% of Pennsylvanians live in areas where, according to the FCC benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband is too expensive for some residents and small business owners.
Access to high speed internet is not only a luxury and a convenience, it is a necessity for many residents and business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how much we depend on reliable high-speed internet for work, education, healthcare, and goods and services. During the pandemic, students attended distance school, many people worked from home, meetings were held virtually, job interviews were held online, telemedicine appointments replaced exams and in-person appointments, and groceries and other household items were ordered online and delivered. Those with high-speed internet access were able to adapt to these changes without interruption. Those who did not have reliable internet access suffered and were at a considerable disadvantage.
“The council’s goal is to bridge the digital divide that exists in the county,” said Christine Reuther, Delaware County Councilor. “Reliable Internet access is necessary for our children to learn and thrive, for many residents to work, and for our small businesses to be competitive and successful. “
Under the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pennsylvania will receive millions of dollars to help provide statewide broadband coverage and 23% of Pennsylvania residents will be eligible for Connectivity Affordability, which help low-income families access the Internet.
“Delaware County residents and businesses struggling with the accessibility and affordability of broadband now have an opportunity and we will need to work together to ensure Delaware County receives its fair share of funding,” said Reuther .
A critical next step is to identify the gaps in broadband coverage and affordability. Delaware County has launched a survey to collect data on the availability of Internet service for residential and business addresses in Delaware County. The survey is now online and can be viewed at delcopa.gov/wideband
All residents and business owners are encouraged to complete the “Broadband Access” survey. More answers will lead to more accurate data to help the county bridge the digital divide.
A technical note regarding the survey: We ask respondents not to complete the survey using cellular data. You can complete the survey on your phone, but only if it is connected to your home or work Wi-Fi Internet network.
Those who do not have internet access at home can visit any Delaware County library, municipal building, state senator’s office, or state representative’s office to connect to wifi in order to respond. to the survey or request a hard copy of the survey.
The survey is expected to be available until January 14, 2022.