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Commissioners continue investment in broadband

The York County Commissioners on June 30 approved allocating up to $25 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding on the continuing development of broadband internet across the county.

The unanimous vote came after a YoCo Fiber Task Force presentation by Silas Chamberlin, vice president, economic & community development for York County Economic Alliance (YCEA). Chamberlin serves as facilitator of the task force. The presentation recommended the commissioners use the county’s Rescue Act funds to:

  • Design and construct three Middle Mile Rings, which expand fiber access into underserved parts of the county 
  • Evaluate county-owned and leased 911 towers for future wireless development
  • Implement wireless networks for York City and Hanover areas to bridge the digital urban divide
  • Issue a Request for Proposal for an internet provider to create access along the county’s existing pilot project, which could generate revenue for the county through leasing and/or revenue-sharing agreements

 

“The recommendations from the YoCo Fiber Task Force to further invest in fiber broadband around York County is a major next step for the county’s broadband initiative,” said York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler. “If we do not continue this investment, internet providers will take their business elsewhere and our residents, businesses and schools will continue to suffer from lack of access.

The commissioners’ collaboration with YCEA and the YoCo Fiber Task Force has been a tremendous asset to this process.”

The YoCo Fiber Task Force was established in 2020 to advise the county on implementation of the countywide broadband study that was completed using federal CARES Act funds. In 2020, CARES funding supported the development of a 16-mile fiber optic installation along the Heritage Rail Trail. That project was completed earlier this year and has two active wireless antennae providing free and strong wireless signals. Those antennae are positioned at the Hanover Junction and Brillhart Station trailheads.

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