CLARION - The Clarion County Economic Development Corp. has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help fund the Clarion County Connected Engineering Plan.
The Clarion County Board of Commissioners have committed to a required matching grant.
"Clarion County's rolling hillsides, woodlands, and low population density make many areas unprofitable for Internet service providers to expand their broadband networks," said CCEDC Executive Director, Jarred Heuer in a prepared statement. "As a result, many communities lack access to high-speed, low-latency Internet. This project will produce a
roadmap' for deploying broadband where it is most needed, thereby facilitating remote learning, telemedicine, access to e-commerce, employer recruitment and retention, and the ability for residents to telecommute."
With broadband connectivity becoming a national conversation, this engineering plan will lend credibility to future funding opportunities as they
"Securing this grant is another step forward in bringing reliable, affordable high-speed internet
across Clarion County," said Heuer. "We would like to thank the Clarion County commissioners for providing the matching funds for this opportunity. We also thank our partners at the Northwest and North Central Commissions, Delta Development
Group, HRG, and IU-6 for assisting to steer our efforts."
Heuer added, "This project received wide support from our elected officials across all three levels. Many thanks to all our legislative representatives for supporting the CCEDC's efforts."
U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-15) said in a press release, The ARC investment will allow Clarion County Connected to study all 12 boroughs and the surrounding rural communities to produce a roadmap for deploying broadband where it is needed most.
"With more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians living without access to broadband, developing an accurate broadband map is essential to ensure that reliable, high-speed internet can be delivered to our communities," said Thompson. "I applaud the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation for working to bring the infrastructure necessary to allow for remote learning, telemedicine, access to e-commerce, and the ability for residents to telecommute. This study will help advance Clarion County further towards the goal of bridging the digital divide."