Broadband internet access will soon be expanded to hundreds of Greene County homes.
During their meeting last week, Greene County commissioners approved an agreement with Appalachian Regional Commission that will bring $2.5 million in grant funding to the county so broadband access can be expanded to homes in three communities.
ARC representatives said the project will provide gigabit speed broadband access to more than 767 currently unserved or underserved homes in the areas around Graysville, New Freeport and Spraggs. The project includes all or portions of six townships: Aleppo, Freeport, Gilmore, Perry, Springhill and Wayne. About 105 miles of fiber-optic cable will be installed.
Increasing broadband access has been a priority among officials in Greene County and in other rural parts of Pennsylvania. Last year, more than $3 million was put toward broadband improvements in Greene, using money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and capital investments from the telephone service company Windstream.
In a release issued recently by the commissioners, Commissioner Mike Belding said capital investments are continuing in the underserved and unserved areas of Greene County using details provided by the feasibility study the county completed in early 2020.
“We continually seek additional funding sources and recently applied for nearly $8 million through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), United States Department of Commerce,” he said.
He also said the funding comes from competitive grant programs and not county tax dollars, and these funds are allocated for broadband or other infrastructure improvements and “will be sent elsewhere if not in Greene County.”
Belding said projects are fully planned and will be started soon.
Commissioners also appointed county Chief Clerk Jeff Marshall as signatory on all documents related to this project and grant.