Chester County launches survey to identify areas in need of broadband internet

The county hopes to hand off survey data to internet service providers, looking to expand broadband internet infrastructure in the region with the use of federal funds.

A worker repairs a broadband internet

In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, A.J. Bowen of Schupp's Line Construction, Inc. works on fiber-optic installation in Norton, Vt. Chester County, Pennsylvania is planning to use a new survey to identify areas in the county where broadband internet access can be improved. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

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Like many rural communities across the Commonwealth, Chester County has pockets of areas  where internet service is weak or completely unavailable.

Chester County government recently launched a brief online survey to identify those areas where broadband internet service is insufficient.

A graphic shows WiFi symbols over people's houses, along with a tower.
(Courtesy of Chester County government)

“The survey is going to allow us to provide this data to the different internet service providers so they can build applications to go after federal broadband money that is being released,” said  Bobby Kagel, the county administrator. “The application period is getting ready to open and they’ll be able to access this federal infrastructure money and then be able to build out their broadband infrastructure to better serve the residents and businesses here in the county.”

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More than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians do not have access to the internet or the skills to use the technology.

“We’ve worked with the southern Chester County region in doing a study last year about broadband access in southern Chester County and confirmed what I think a lot of us already knew, that there were areas in southern Chester County that were underserved in terms of broadband access,” Kagel said.

Anecdotally, Kagel said community members have highlighted the fact that parts of the western and northwestern areas of the county don’t have a stable internet connection.

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Pennsylvania received $200 million through the American Rescue Plan to pay for the expansion of high-speed internet to 44,000 homes and businesses.

The state is expected to receive at least $1 billion in internet infrastructure funding in the coming years.

The four-question survey will be open until May 19.

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