Pennsylvania Broadband Director Talks BEAD, CPF

Pennsylvania Broadband Director Talks BEAD, CPF

Pennsylvania ranks among the top states in funding amounts, as it will get $1.2 billion in BEAD rural broadband funding.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority executive director, Brandon Carson, recently spoke about BEAD and other initiatives to expand broadband access throughout the state.

Pennsylvania is neither the first nor the last state to compete in the unspoken state-by-state competition to grant funds.

The recent approval of the Commonwealth’s Volume I made it possible for the challenge process to begin on April 1. The Commonwealth’s goal is to provide service to 52,000 underserved and 236,000 unserved places.

Regarding the statistics, Carson notes that there are now 40,000 fewer unserved locations than there were previously.

He credits this drop to recent major private investment and the fulfillment of some legally mandated funding commitments.

The Commonwealth describes plans for two funding rounds in Volume II; the first round will begin accepting proposals this summer.

In the proposed project area, applicants for the first round must cover a minimum of 95% of the eligible broadband serviceable locations (BSLs).

Carson stated, “We understand that some locations in extremely hard-to-reach areas could significantly drive up project costs,”

Pennsylvania Broadband Director Talk BEAD, CPF
Pennsylvania Broadband Director Talks BEAD, CPF

Carson added, “This approach will help maximize investments in the appropriate technologies and allow us to solicit for a second round of applications to fill in the gap areas.”

Carson stated regarding the remaining 5%, “We have been very upfront in that we know it will take all technologies to get everyone served.”

“We know it’s going to take fiber, hybrid fiber-coax, fixed wireless, and satellite if we’re going to achieve universal access. We are confident that the $1.2 billion will get everyone connected.”

Carson’s optimism stems largely from the state’s experience with granting Capital Projects Fund (CPF) funding.

Carson stated, “There is a lot of work to be done this year, but like many states, our BEAD schedule doesn’t have us awarding funds until sometime in 2025,”

Carson added, “BEAD presents a monumental opportunity, and we have to get it right. We’re working closely with our partners at NTIA to follow the prescribed process, and it takes time.”

The Pennsylvania Broadband office team, which now employs eleven people, is about to reveal the recipients of the $279 million it received from the federal CPF program.

$200 million has been set aside for infrastructure and line extensions, with applications being accepted through 2023.

According to Carson, they received applications for $1 billion, five times the total amount of available money. The recipients will be announced in April.

According to Carson, “the funding will reach more than 30,000 locations across the state.”

An additional $45 million is available for a community facilities renovation program. The grants will be used to enhance community anchor institutions (CAI) and maintain their viability.

Lastly, Pennsylvania will launch a $20 million device access program for various device lending programs by year’s end as part of the CPF.

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Pedro Holland

Pedro Holland is a skilled editor at World-Wire, specializing in technology journalism. With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a passion for writing, he excels in simplifying complex tech topics for a broad audience. Pedro’s work, ranging from smartphone trends to advancements in AI and IoT, is known for its clarity and foresight. As an editor, he emphasizes accuracy and relevance, making tech more accessible and engaging. His articles often explore the future of technology, earning acclaim for their depth and insight. Pedro's role at World-Wire makes him a key figure in tech journalism, bridging the gap between complex concepts and everyday understanding.

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