WENY News - "Center for Rural Pennsylvania" Discusses Internet Access

"Center for Rural Pennsylvania" Discusses Internet Access

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Wellsboro, P.A. (WENY) - The "Center for Rural Pennsylvania" held a public hearing at the Penn Wells hotel in Wellsboro on Thursday to discuss the availability of broadband Internet Access.

If you have high speed internet, you may take the luxury of connectivity for granted. But in areas of rural Pennsylvania, it can limit the ability of some residents to do their jobs.

Kate Gilligan sells software to schools and educational technology companies. To do so, she needs to be able to display her products using web seminars and video chats, but where she lives in Shippen Township that isn't so simple. She says, "DSL speeds are not adequate to have both video conference and support live video streaming, unbroken audio, as well as being able to share my desktop and demonstrate other software applications."

The "Center for Rural Pennsylvania" heard testimonies from medical facilities, communication companies, tourist organizations, and education branches about both the need and the logistics of installing broadband internet access.

Though there are multiple factors at play, it seems there could be one overlying issue that is keeping broadband internet access out of rural Pennsylvania. State Senator and "Center for Rural Pennsylvania" Chairman Gene Yaw says, "It's money. In Senator Scarnati's district, which is where we are right now, the population density is 40 people per square mile. To run fiber optics or broadband availability to every home in that area, I understand what the costs are."

Senator Yaw says the board will digest the information they heard, and see if there is anything that legislators can do to help alleviate the problem.

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