Broadband sessions scheduled locally

May 2—The Lawrence County Broadband initiative is sponsoring two events important to county residents and the speed of their internet service.

An open house is planned for noon to 3 p.m. May 11 in the commissioner's meeting room at the Lawrence County Government Center to discuss broadband initiatives and encourage more people to complete survey forms.

A virtual session will be presented from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 18. Free registration details are available at

The county officials are encouraging all county residents to complete the broadband survey forms, found at The survey is open to all residents to complete before May 26. The survey is important in determining which areas of the county are devoid of high-speed internet or where its connections are weak.

Survey forms also are available from the county planning office in the courthouse.

The county stands to benefit from federal dollars to boost internet service countywide. The commissioners hired Michael Baker International Inc. to conduct the study to attract dollars allocated for broadband enhancement to Lawrence County to improve connectivity here. The county also has appointed a task force to participate in the study.

Locations in the county with no access to wired internet service with speeds that meet the FCC threshold of 25 megabits per second and 3 megabits per second upload are considered unserved, according to information from the engineering firm. Underserved locations are those where internet services meet or exceed the FCC threshold but do not have access to speeds of 100 megabits per second downloads and 20 megabits per second uploads.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly in June appropriated $279 million to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to establish grant programs to identify eligible county projects that meet program guidelines and the requirements from state Treasury.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development last month approved the grant guidelines for the Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program, which will provide $200 million in funding statewide to businesses, non-profits, local government, and economic development organizations to enhance broadband connectivity statewide. The guidelines were posted on the authority's website April 10, and the application process for counties to apply for funds in the program will open May 10.

The money is part of a U.S. Department of the Treasury allocation of $10 billion to states nationwide through the Capital Projects Fund program.