A new report has been released, Broadband Availability and Access in Rural Pennsylvania. The project, funded by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and conducted by researchers at Penn State, details broadband access across Pennsylvania and makes policy recommendations for the General Assembly to address broadband access disparities.
According to the report, over 800,000 Pennsylvania residents do not have access to broadband connectivity, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, recent research has documented that these official estimates are downplaying the true state of the digital divide because they rely on self-reported data by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Informed policy requires systematic analysis to both verify the FCC’s numbers and accurately determine the true state of broadband connectivity across Pennsylvania. The research collected more than 11 million broadband speed tests from across Pennsylvania in 2018. These tests measured broadband speeds in every Pennsylvania county and found that median speeds across most areas of the state do not meet the FCC’s criteria to qualify as broadband. The main findings from these analyses have profound implications for existing and future efforts to bridge the digital divide.
The full report can be accessed on the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s website at https://www.rural.palegislature.us/