Community engagement activities will support the development of the Commonwealth’s BEAD and Digital Equity plans
Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (Authority) Executive Director Brandon Carson announced a series of upcoming public engagement activities to support the development of the Commonwealth’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) and Digital Equity (DE) program plans. Extending and expanding access to broadband across Pennsylvania and making connection more reliable and affordable is a top priority of Governor Josh Shapiro and his Administration.
The ‘Internet for All: Connecting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’ initiative aims to reach a diverse cross-section of residents, businesses, and organizations through a public survey and robust schedule of community conversations and roundtable discussions in all regions of the state. The feedback and data received during these events will be crucial to the Authority as it works to minimize Pennsylvania’s existing digital divide.
“Pennsylvanians have an absolutely essential role in helping the Authority develop the BEAD and DE plans and we want to hear from as many Pennsylvanians as possible at our upcoming community engagement events,” said Executive Director Carson. “We’re working hard to make Internet for All a reality in Pennsylvania, and being able to incorporate feedback from our residents, businesses, and organizations is crucial in helping us develop broadband plans that address barriers and needs.”
Community engagement activities will include:
- Community survey to help assess connectivity and digital access and identify barriers. The survey is being released throughout the commonwealth using several deployment methods to broaden its reach. Respondents will be able to submit a paper survey, respond online, or participate via phone. Paper surveys will be available for residents at select locations, including businesses, educational centers, local government offices, social service offices, and healthcare facilities.
- In-person community conversations across the commonwealth will provide Pennsylvanians with an opportunity to learn more about BEAD and DE and discuss issues such as barriers to digital access, equity, and literacy. The community conversations will also include discussions on affordability inequities, technical support, and cybersecurity needs. Several community partners will host conversation events to help collect feedback and further broaden the Authority’s outreach efforts.
- Mix of in-person and virtual roundtables will be held to allow for more dynamic events with stakeholders, advocates, and subject matter experts. The roundtables will enable participants to delve further into issues facing the commonwealth and share perspectives for overcoming current challenges.
Pennsylvanians should check the Community Events section of the Authority’s website often, as it will be updated to include details for new events as soon as they are scheduled.
The Authority has also formed a working group that includes stakeholders with digital access and equity interests who are active within their communities. This group is comprised of a variety of sectors and primarily includes organizations representing covered populations, as defined in the DE Act. The working group, which meets biweekly to stay apprised of the Authority’s BEAD and DE activities and offer insight, will continue to meet to help inform and guide the implementation of the DE plan.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority and the upcoming community engagement activities, visit the Authority’s website.