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SAP&DC Awarded Grant Funds to Evaluate and Promote Broadband Connectivity in the Region

Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission (SAP&DC) has been awarded $50,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to complete an eight-county assessment of broadband infrastructure in the region. The counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset, and Westmoreland have all partnered on this project and are providing $50,000 in matching funds for the study.

Brandon Carson, Director of Planning & Community Development at SAP&DC, has been working on this effort with representatives from the region for nearly a year. Mr. Carson said, “We’re excited to collaborate with ARC and our eight-county Broadband Task Force to begin to address the lack of broadband connectivity in the region. This study will arm us with the information needed to implement meaningful solutions that will provide residents and businesses in the region with better access to reliable broadband services.”

Today’s announcement by ARC is one of 54 investments totaling $44.4 million via ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, a congressionally funded opportunity targeting federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production.

“I congratulate Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission for being an FY 2019 POWER grantee and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce, and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric. Projects like this help ensure a prosperous future for Appalachia.”

The Regional Broadband Task Force released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for individuals or businesses to submit proposals for the eight-county study. The study will address the following:

Unserved and underserved areas;

  • Level of service being provided; the needs of local businesses and the reliability of the current services being provided;
  • Provide an inventory of broadband assets already in place;
  • Assess community broadband requirements for bandwidth needs;
  • Determine best technologies to meet the coal impacted community needs; and
  • Provide cost estimates for different deployment strategies.

The RFP will be out for bid until October 31, 2019, and is available on SAP&DC’s website. Final completion of the study is expected in July of next year.

If you would like more information on the broadband study or RFP process, please contact Stacy LoCastro, Grants Coordinator at SAP&DC at slocastro@sapdc.org.

For more about this program, please visit http://www.sapdc.org/broadband_task_force

 

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

 

About Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC)

The Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC) [www.sapdc.org] is a non-profit regional economic and community development organization serving Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset Counties.  SAP&DC’s mission is to address human resource development, encourage the creation and retention of jobs, and to improve the quality of life for residents of the Alleghenies.