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Betting on broadbandFree Access

High-speed internet service has been evolving from a lifestyle option to a necessity across Pennsylvania.
Officials in Potter County have made the expansion of broadband service one of its highest priorities. They recognize its potential for economic development, expansion of health care and education, and many other public benefits, according to Planning/GIS Director Will Hunt.
Many Potter County households and businesses have no high-speed internet service or lack sufficient capacity to meet today’s demands.
Tri-Co Connections’ high-speed internet project, which has already connected hundreds of Potter County customers, is filling many of the gaps.
The Revitalize Potter County Steering Committee is focusing on areas that are not serviced by Tri-Co. Hunt is joined on the committee by Community Development Director Ellen Russell and Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Paul Heimel and Barry Hayman.
County leaders learned through extensive public surveying related to the 2020-29 Countywide Comprehensive Plan that expansion of broadband service is a high priority.
“We are now identifying gaps in broadband service in and around Potter County, as well as identifying potential partners and funding sources to fill those gaps,” Hunt explained.
He added that the committee will be reaching out to a half-dozen or more service providers, as well as school districts, townships and boroughs, to forge partnerships.
The committee has compiled an assessment as follows:
–Opportunities. Improving the quality of life for Potter County residents by closing the gap of the “digital divide.” Qualifying for funds have been made available from the federal and state governments to support the build-out in underserved areas.
–Challenges. Identifying the homes and businesses lacking service and potential providers to fill the gaps. Investigating partnerships and/or incentives to attract service providers.
–Steps Forward. Conducting a feasibility study for development of expanded broadband service.
Identifying public and private partners to serve on, or advise, the committee.

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