Read below about opportunities for libraries, as community anchor institutions, to continue to play a role to close the digital divide and attain greater digital equity for Pennsylvanians due to funding from the federal government that Pennsylvania will deploy through the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.
Feedback Requested on the Upcoming $45 Million Pennsylvania Multi-Purpose Community Facility Program
The PA Broadband Development Authority will release grant program guidelines and open its application period for a $45 million Pennsylvania Multi-Purpose Community Facility Program (Program), a competitive grant program that is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund. The Program will target capital assets to include, but not limited to, community anchor institutions such as schools, libraries, recreation centers, community health centers, and other non-profit organization buildings owned or operated by units of local government.
As the Authority finalizes program guidelines, it is requesting feedback on a few items where U.S. Treasury has provided flexibility: match requirements, maximum award amount, and the minimum number of applications that should be awarded. The public comment period for the Pennsylvania Multi-Purpose Community Facility Program is now open. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to provide feedback to help inform the creation of the guidelines. Please submit feedback by Wednesday, May 24.
Capital Projects Fund – Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP)
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority is currently accepting applications for the Capital Projects Fund – Broadband Infrastructure Program (Program) through Monday, July 10, 2023. The Authority has designed and made available a FAQ document for this program.
Your library may want to ensure that local entities are aware of this opportunity and consider ways to be a possible partner in this grant application with other organizations (often ISPs or local government) who may be planning provide the broadband infrastructure to communities where high speed connectivity is not available.
The $200 million competitive grant program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF), will target locations that do not currently have access to 25/3 Mbps reliable service. Eligible applicants include local units of government, non-profits, cooperatives, and private entities. The Program will fund extensions of existing last-mile cable modem and fiber-to-the-premise broadband networks as well as large-scale regional projects that can transform broadband availability by serving large numbers of eligible addresses.
Additionally, the Authority has created an online web map to support prospective applicants for this program and future programs. This map shows broadband serviceable locations and community anchor institutions across the Commonwealth. The Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) are categorized into served, underserved, and unserved layers. This map will continue to be updated using the latest available data from the Federal Communications Commission Broadband Data Collection (BDC). We anticipate this map being released and available to the public in the near future.
If you have additional questions about this program, contact email@example.com.
Share It Forward with OCL
The Office of Commonwealth Libraries wants to know about the work your library is doing in the areas of telehealth, workforce development, digital literacy, or stakeholder engagement with covered populations (low-income households, aging populations, incarcerated individuals, veterans, individuals with disabilities, individuals with a language barrier, racial and ethnic minorities and rural inhabitants) so we can highlight your successes, knowledge, and understanding of Pennsylvanian’s needs. Please contact Carrie Cleary to provide information and stories or discuss uses and needs for digital technology in your library and in your community. These stories may be combined with preliminary results of the 2023 Public Library Broadband Survey (coming soon).